Human Nature

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 208–217 | Cite as

Estimating the Prevalence of Nonpaternity in Germany

  • Michael WolfEmail author
  • Jochen Musch
  • Juergen Enczmann
  • Johannes Fischer


The prevalence of nonpaternity in human societies is difficult to establish. To obtain a current and fairly unbiased estimate of the nonpaternity rate in Germany, we analysed a dataset consisting of 971 children and their parents in whom human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing had been carried out in the context of bone marrow transplantation. In this sample, nine exclusions (0.93%) could be identified on the basis of more than 300 HLA-haplotypes defined by four HLA genes. Given this number of exclusions, a maximum likelihood estimate of the nonpaternity rate in the population of 0.94% was obtained with asymptotic 95% confidence limits of 0.33% and 1.55%, respectively. This result is in accordance with recent surveys as well as findings from Switzerland for a comparable sample, and it suggests that earlier estimates of the nonpaternity rate which were often in excess of 10% may have been largely exaggerated.


Nonpaternity Cuckoldry Human leukocyte antigen Bone marrow transplantation Maximum likelihood 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Wolf
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jochen Musch
    • 1
  • Juergen Enczmann
    • 2
  • Johannes Fischer
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Experimental PsychologyHeinrich-Heine-University of DuesseldorfDuesseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Transplantation Diagnostics and Cell TherapeuticsHeinrich-Heine-University of Duesseldorf Medical SchoolDuesseldorfGermany

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