News of the WeekGenetics

Which Jefferson Was the Father?

Science  08 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5399, pp. 153-155
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5399.153a

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Summary

The claim that Thomas Jefferson fathered at least one child by his slave Sally Hemings got a big boost in credibility last November when scientists announced in Nature that they had found DNA sequences in the Y chromosome of the Jefferson family that matched DNA from the Hemings family. The finding set off a flood of news reports declaring that the third U.S. president had, as rumored, fathered an illegitimate child by Sally Hemings. But now the authors of the report say that the data establish only that Thomas Jefferson was one of several candidates for the paternity of Eston Hemings, Sally's fifth child.

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