Estimating the Prevalence of Nonpaternity in Germany

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Michael Wolf.

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Wolf, M., Musch, J., Enczmann, J. et al. Estimating the Prevalence of Nonpaternity in Germany. Hum Nat 23, 208–217 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-012-9143-y

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Keywords

  • Nonpaternity
  • Cuckoldry
  • Human leukocyte antigen
  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Maximum likelihood