Update: Ugo Perego is not affiliated withh the website mentioned in the last two sentences.
Did Joseph Smith father children with any of his plural wives? The Deseret News has a lengthy article about recent efforts by a geneticist to answer the long-debated question about the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.
Ugo Perego, the director of operations at the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, has used genetic genealogy in an attempt to identify or rule out potential descendants of Smith. In 2005, Perego showed that three males were not descendants of Smith, and new testing has shown that two more alleged descendants of Smith are not his true descendants.
In order to rule out descendants, it was first necessary to characterize the Y-DNA thought to belong to Joseph Smith. According to the article:
“Perego has mapped Smith’s DNA by retrieving samples from living descendants of two sons he had with Emma Smith [his first wife] â€” Joseph Smith III and Alexander Hale Smith. ‘Their Y chromosomes were identical, so we know for 100 percent sure what Joseph Smith’s Y chromosome looked like. We can now use that standard to verify any other alleged sons,’ which he did with those who have been eliminated as possible descendants.”
Interestingly, Perego was able to show that the men (1) were not the descendants of Smith, and (2) were actually descendants of the other men who were married to these wives of Joseph.
I especially like Perego’s motivations for doing this independent project supported by Sorenson:
“As a scientist, I like to look for truth. If there is a book that says this person was Joseph’s son, and I have evidence that’s not right, it’s important for me to offer an alternative explanation from science that people can refer to. New authors in the future can then take that new genetic evidence into consideration.”