QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2011-11 > 1320499321
From: "Harriet E. Cady" <>
Subject: [Q-R] New Study in Journal Science : Pioneers of Quebec and familysize
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 06:22:01 -0700 (PDT)
I find this an interesting study in family populations. In Hardwick, VT where I grew up the Bellavances had 19 children, Menards and Renauds were 12 and 13 and my grandparents were 15.
My mother had the most of the children descended with 7.
But I alwasy thought it was the Catholic Religion and the need for help on the farms of the French Canadians who came to Northern, VT.
Pioneers boast high fertility, say scientists
04 November 11 07:49 ET
*By Jennifer Carpenter*
Science reporter, BBC News
*Scientists have shown that women who were first to settle in a new land
had more children and grandchildren than those who followed.*
Researchers analysed the family trees of French settlers who colonised
Canada in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Their results could help to explain why some rare genetics diseases are
common in communities established by migrations.
The findings have been published in the journal Science.
The team of researchers from Canada and Europe relied on data collected by
the parish councils of Charlevoix and Saguenay Lac Saint-Jean, a region
170km north of Quebec, Canada.
The towns not only boast dairy farms, charming villages and sandy beaches
but some of the best ever-kept marriage records - comprising more than a
By building a picture of marriages and how many children the pairings
produced, the researchers showed that woman who arrived as part of the
first wave of immigration into the area had 15% more children than those
who arrived a generation later.
The pioneering woman married younger and benefited from scooping up the
best local resources, they added.
But the study also found that the pioneering women's children also had more
Lead author Laurent Excoffier, from the University of Bern in Switzerland,
explained that the children of women at the front of the wave inherited
their mother's higher rate of fertility.
Yet, the researchers added, there was no such correlation between
generations that arrived 30 years later behind the first wave.
Dr Excoffier drew parallels with cane toads. Scientists have observed that
the toads at the edge of their range have bigger front legs and stronger
back legs; all the better to invade new areas.
And when toads at the frontiers breed, their offspring inherit these
longer, stronger limbs.
Such an effect is not unexpected, but until now no one has seen this
phenomenon in humans.
"This was a rare chance to study a relatively recent human migration," said
co-author Damian Labuda, a geneticist from the University of Montreal,
Population geneticist Montgomery Slatkin from University of California, who
was not involved in the work, called the study one of the "most
interesting, detailed studies" he had seen.
"I think what happened [here] could easily have happened in other
populations," he added.
The findings suggest that families at the front of the wave of migration
contributed more to the contemporary gene pool than those that were slower
to arrive, explained Dr Labuda.
This could help explain why some rare genetic diseases are more common than
expected in the Charlevoix and Saguenay Lac Saint-Jean regions.
That is because any disease causing mutations carried by people by the
frontiers would be pass onto their descendents, who make up a large
proportion of subsequent generations in the population.
FROM MSNBC SCIENCE NEWS:
Frontier settlers, who "live on the edge," may be more likely to have
larger families than those who stay snuggled at the core of a settlement,
based on new research of how the French settled Quebec centuries ago.
A study of Quebecois records determined that the women among the families
at the outskirts of the population were about 15 percent more fertile than
those who lived in more-established settlements, and consequently their
families contributed muchmore to Quebec's modern gene pool.
>>From their findings, researchers speculated that improved fertility after
successful colonization in rural areas could have played a major role in
the spread of the human population from Africa 50,000 years ago.
"We find that families who are at the forefront of a range expansion into
new territories had greater reproductive success. In other words, that they
had more children, and more children who also had children," study
researcher Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal in Quebec explained
in a statement. "As a result, these families made a higher genetic
contribution to the contemporary population than those who remained behind."
Aleks / Bhérer Family
The full descent of their son, Edgar Bhérer, married to Délina Boivin. The
picture was shot in 1960 (Picture not included in this email) for the
celebration of Edgar and Délina's 50th wedding anniversary in front of the
family house in St-Félicien, Lac-Saint-Jean.
*The researchers studied the records of 1.2 million Quebecois who lived
between 1686 and 1960 in the area between the St. Laurent River and Lac
Saint-Jean. These records were reconstructed from church registries and
turned into genealogies of who settled where, when they married and how
manychildren they had as the population wave front continued to change.
The team found that those who settled on the fringes of existing
settlements — the so-called "wave front" of the movement into rural,
unsettled areas — married at younger ages, had more children and
grandchildren, and passed on more of their genes to modern Quebecois than
those who lived near the older, previously established settlements.
The women of the population's outskirts bore an average of nine children,
while the women who lived in the core of the population had about eight.
The genetic dominance of these frontier women came from several sources:
The women tended to marry about a year sooner, and their children were more
likely to marry and to have higher fertility rates themselves.
Because they were more fertile, these wave-front families left more genes
in the modern population — some 1.2 to 3.9 times more genes than those
families living in core, populated areas at the time. The number differs by
how many generations ago the ancestors lived. The older the generation, the
more it contributed to the gene pool.
*The children of these frontier women had better access to potential mates,
the researchers found, probably because there was less competition with
other women and they had more land to inhabit and farm, which means more
resources available to them — a factor that can boost health and fertility.
This is similar to what other researchers saw when studying the French
population that originally founded Quebec.
"Theory predicts that traits related to dispersal and reproduction should
be evolving during range expansions.We have only been able to measure
differences in fertility or fitness between the front and the range core,
but other traits might have evolved," study researcher Laurent Excoffier of
the University of Montreal and the University of Berne in Switzerland told
LiveScience in an email. "Unfortunately, we do not have records of what
these could be."
Mary Elizabeth Mylott-Fasano
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|[Q-R] New Study in Journal Science : Pioneers of Quebec and familysize by "Harriet E. Cady" <>|