Tuesday, January 17, 2006

And now, from the "Hide your shillelaghs, boy-ohs, we're busted!" files, and Yahoo! News...

Sudiegirl sez: Well, faith and begorrah! Apparently, they found the most fertile snake in Ireland, don't ya know? Don't know if that means inbreedin' or other unfortunate circumstances such as that, but as sure as yer born, we're gonna find out. Oh, the saints be praised! (OK, the dialect is a little hard to maintain...sorry 'bout that, folks. Let's just get on with it, shall we?)

Scientists discover most fertile Irish male
(and it's not TED KENNEDY!)

By Siobhan Kennedy
2 hours, 40 minutes ago

Scientists in Ireland may have found the country's most fertile male, with more than 3 million men worldwide among his offspring. (Note to self: pack plenty of birth control when traveling to Ireland.)

The scientists, from Trinity College Dublin, have discovered that as many as one in twelve Irish men could be descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, a 5th-century warlord who was head of the most powerful dynasty in ancient Ireland. (Pardon me for asking this question, but doesn't that then mean that inbreeding is right around the corner? It certainly seems like a logical chain of events. Yep, DEFINITELY PACK birth control, plus pictures of Carol Channing to further deflate the mood.)

His genetic legacy is almost as impressive as Genghis Khan, the Mongol emperor who conquered most of Asia in the 13th century and has nearly 16 million descendants, said Dan Bradley, who supervised the research. (Trivia note: John Wayne once played Genghis Khan in a film about Marco Polo in the late '30's. Not one of his more successful ventures. But does that mean that Chaka Khan is related to Genghis Khan? I've always wondered that...)

"It's another link between profligacy and power," Bradley told Reuters. "We're the first generation on the planet where if you're successful you don't (always) have more children."
The research was carried out by PhD student Laoise Moore, at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at Trinity. Moore, testing the Y chromosome which is passed on from fathers to sons, examined DNA samples from 800 males across Ireland. (Interesting...although I don't know if I trust data from an institute that's named after little blue creatures that are three apples tall and originating from Belgium.)

The results -- which have been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics -- showed the highest concentration of related males in northwest Ireland, where one in five males had the same Y chromosome. (Note to self if in Ireland: DON'T GO NORTHWEST! FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T GO NORTHWEST!)

Bradley said the results reminded the team of a similar study in central Asia, where scientists found 8 percent of men with the same Y chromosome. Subsequent studies found they shared the same chromosome as the dynasty linked to Genghis Khan. (OK, now I'm confused...does that mean they're also related to Genghis Khan? What about Chaka Khan? What about Khan from "Star Trek"? Also, if you divorced Genghis Khan, would that make you an "ex-Khan"? Oh boy...I could go on like this all DAY!)

"It made us wonder if there could be some sort of Genghis Khan effect in Ireland and the best candidate for it was Niall," Bradley said. (Oh boy...not sure what to say there...)

His team then consulted with genealogical experts who provided them with a contemporary list of people with surnames that are genealogically linked to the last known relative of the "Ui Neill" dynasty, which literally means descendants of Niall. (Christmas shopping must be a bitch, huh?)

The results showed the new group had the same chromosome as those in the original sample, proving a link between them and the Niall descendents. (So then does that mean, if they keep it up, future generations will be a little touched and have three noses and four ears?)

"The frequency (of the Y chromosome) was significantly higher in that genealogical group than any other group we tested," said Bradley, whose surname is also linked to the medieval warlord. Other modern surnames tracing their ancestry to Niall include Gallagher, Boyle, O'Donnell and O'Doherty. (Whew...no Dawsons or Hegstroms in there...sigh of relief.)

For added proof, the scientists used special techniques to age the Y chromosome, according to how many mutations had occurred in the genetic material over time. The number of mutations was found to be in accordance with chromosomes that would date back to the last known living relative of Niall. (If it was a female, I'll bet you dollars to donuts she was exhausted. Giving birth to all those squabs would wear a person out.)

Niall reportedly had 12 sons, many of whom became powerful Irish kings themselves. But because he lived in the 5th century, there have been doubts the king -- who is said to have brought the country's patron saint, Patrick, to Ireland -- even existed. (Well, of course he existed? Why else would people drink green beer? If the guy didn't exist, all the green pee released over time is for naught!)

"Before I would have said that characters like Niall were almost mythological, like King Arthur, but this actually puts flesh on the bones," Bradley said. (But the flesh would be a tad ripe, wouldn't it?)

When international databases were checked, the chromosome also turned up in roughly 2 percent of all male New Yorkers. (Note to self: ALSO PACK BIRTH CONTROL FOR NYC.)

Sudiegirl's final opinion?

I think the Irish Rovers say it best...sing it, boys...

"We got green turtleneck sweaters
an' instruments...
we just found out
we're very fertile gents!

So hide yer wives and daughters,
as sure as yer born,
or else they're gonna ride my unicorn!"

(If you need a definition of "unicorn", just let me know and I'll happily forward you to Three Boobs on a Chest for further edification.)

(Note to all offended parties...it's HUMOR, folks...if you don't think it's funny, just move along. I promise I won't be angry...)