Dr Turi King: Research Fellow


Lecturer in Genetics and Archaeology

Contact Details

Building: Adrian Building

Telephone: lab internal 3377, external (lab) +44 (0)116 252 3377 (office) +44 (0)116 223 1229

Fax: +44 (0)116 252 3378

Emailtek2 at le.ac.uk





Research Interests

I became interested in how the discipline of genetics can be married with those of archaeology, anthropology and history while studying biological anthropology at the University of Cambridge. This interest in interdisciplinary research took me on to the University of Leicester to study for a Masters degree in molecular genetics and where I had the good fortune of carrying out my research project in Professor Mark Jobling's lab characterizing two Y chromosome polymorphisms. I was hooked!

I am fascinated by the relationship between Y chromosome types and paternally inherited surnames. While my doctoral research examined the link between surname and Y chromosome type in Britain, my current research explores this relationship further and how it can find an application in the fields of genealogy, forensics, population history.

I am interested in furthering interdisciplinary research combining the field of genetics with history, archaeology, anthropology, forensics and epidemiology: using other genetic markers, in combination with the Y chromosome, to elucidate past migration and population structure; the social impact of genetic genealogy testing and how the results of these tests can affect a person's perception of their identity; exploring the potential differences between differing classes of surnames in Britain and the link between Y chromosome type and paternally inherited surnames in other parts of the world.



  • The Social Impact of DNA testing: This is a sociology study being carried out by Wendy Roth at the University of British Columbia about how getting information about your ancestry from genetic tests may affect your identity, attitudes, or activities. It consists of an online survey that should take about 10-15 minutes to complete. If you would like to participate, please click here.
  • People of the British Isles project


PhD Thesis

The relationship between British surnames and Y-chromosomal haplotypes
Winner of School of Biological Sciences PhD Prize 2008
Selected as part of the Doctoral Inaugural Lecture series 2008-2009
Shortlisted Promega Young Scientist of the Year

Media and Outreach

I am passionate about communicating science to the public.  I have advised/contributed/appeared in a number of television and radio series including Michael Wood's Great British Story and The Story of England, Vikings, Gatwick Baby: Abandoned at Birth and Material World as well as documentaries for Discovery Channel and Global Television.  I have done numerous interviews for television (BBC national and local stations, Sky, ITV, CNN, Global), radio (BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC World Service, BBC Radio Leicester) and press about my work on the link between surnames and genetics as well as genetic ancestry testing. I regularly give public lectures  including talks to school children and family history groups and speak at Who Do You Think You Are? Live each year. I contributed to the Wellcome Trust exhibition "Who Am I?" and am currently working with the New Walk Museum in Leicester in building an exhibition about DNA.


  • Viking DNA: The Wirral and West Lancashire Project Viking DNA Stephen Harding,Mark Jobling and Turi King. Countyvise and Nottingham University Press. 2010.

  • Surnames, DNA and Family History
Surnames,DNA and Family HistoryGeorge Redmonds, Turi King and David Hey. Oxford University Press. September, 2011.  Selected by Michael Wood as his “History Book of the Year” for BBC History magazine, Christmas edition, 2011.

Peer-reviewed articles

  • Winney B, Boumertit A, Day T, Davison D, Echeta C, Evseeva I, Hutnik K, Leslie S, Nicodemus K, Royrvik EC, Tonks S, Yang X, Cheshire J, Longley P, Mateos P, Groom A, Relton C, Bishop DT, Black K, Northwood E, Parkinson L, Frayling TM, Steele A, Sampson JR, King T, Dixon R, Middleton D, Jennings B, Bowden R, Donnelly P, Bodmer W.(2011) Eur J Hum Gen, Aug 10, 1-8. People of the British Isles: preliminary analysis of genotypes and surnames in a UK-control population.
  • Patricia Balaresque, Georgina R. Bowden, Susan M. Adams, Ho-Yee Leung, Turi E. King, Zoë H. Rosser, Jane Goodwin, Jean-Paul Moisan, Christelle Richard, Ann Millward, Andrew G. Demaine, Guido Barbujani, Carlo Previderè, Ian J. Wilson, Chris Tyler-Smith, Mark A. Jobling (2010) PLoS Biol. 8, e1000285. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000285. A predominantly Neolithic origin for European paternal lineages.Article available as Open Access

  • King, T.E. and Jobling, M.A. (2009) Trends Genet. 25, 351-360. What’s in a name? - Y chromosomes, surnames, and the genetic genealogy revolution. Authors' revised version of this article available here, published versionhere.
  • King, T.E. and Jobling, M.A. (2009) Mol. Biol. Evol. 26, 1093-1102. Founders, drift and infidelity: the relationship between Y chromosome diversity and patrilineal surnames. Article available as Open Access.
  • King, T.E., Parkin, EJ., Swinfield, G., Cruciani, F., Scozzari, R., Rosa, A., Lim, S., Xue, Y., Tyler-Smith, C., and Jobling, M.A. (2007) Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 15, 288-293. Africans in Yorkshire? - the deepest-rooting clade of the Y phylogeny within an English genealogy. Article available as Open Access from journal website.
  • King, T.E., Bowden, G.R., Balaresque, P., Adams, S.M., Shanks, M.E. and Jobling, M.A. (2007) Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 132, 584-589. Thomas Jefferson's Y chromosome belongs to a rare European lineage.
  • Bowden, G.R., Balaresque, P., King, T.E., Hansen, Z., Lee, A.C., Pergl-Wilson, G., Hurley, E., Roberts, S.J., Waite, P., Jesch, J., Jones, A.L., Thomas, M.G., Harding, S.E. and Jobling, M.A. (2007) Mol. Biol. Evol. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msm255. Excavating past population structures by surname-based sampling: the genetic legacy of the Vikings in northwest England. Article available as Open Access.
  • King, T.E., Ballereau, S.J., Schurer, K. and Jobling, M.A. (2006) Curr. Biol. 16, 384-388. Genetic signatures of coancestry within surnames. You can download the final pre-publication version of the article here, and obtain the published pdf from the Current Biology website.
  • Adams, S.M., King, T.E., Bosch, E., and Jobling M.A. (2006) Forensic Sci. Int. 159, 14-20. The case of the unreliable SNP: recurrent back-mutation of Y-chromosomal marker P25 through gene conversion.
  • King, T.E., Bosch, E., Adams, S. Parkin, E.J., Rosser, Z.H., Jobling, M.A. (2005) J. Med. Genet. 42, 366-368. Inadvertent diagnosis of male infertility through genealogical DNA testing. Article available as Open Access from journal website.
  • Jobling, M.A. and King, T.E. (2003) The distribution of Y-chromosomal haplotypes: forensic implications. Progress in Forensic Genetics 10, 70-72.
  • The Y Chromosome Consortium (2002) Genome Res. 12, 339-348. A nomenclature system for the tree of human Y-chromosomal binary haplogroups.
  • Pandya, A., King, T.E., Santos, F.R., Taylor, P.G., Thangaraj, K., Singh, L., Jobling, M.A. and Tyler-Smith, C. (1998) A polymorphic human Y-chromosomal G to A transition found in India. Indian Journal of Human Genetics 4, 52-61.


  • BA Hons, University of Cambridge
  • MSc in Molecular Genetics, University of Leicester, Distinction
  • PhD, University of Leicester

Teaching, Tutorials

  • HS2234 Race and Ethnicity
  • AR3071 Archaeology of Death and Burial
  • DNA and the Past
  • Genes MB1005
  • Genes BS1005
  • Medical Genetics MB3050

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