DNA tests are being offered to men from the Scottish Highlands in an attempt to trace relatives of movie icon Marilyn Monroe.

To mark what would have been the 1950s film star’s 90th birthday, a search has been launched to try and find some of her family members. It is believed she was descended from a captured Royalist soldier from the Munro clan who was sent to America after King Charles II was beaten by Cromwell in the English Civil War.

Marilyn’s real name was Norma Jeane Baker but her mother’s name was Gladys Pearl Monroe. And DNA evidence shows that Marilyn’s maternal grandfather Otis Elmer Monroe was descended from John Munro, a soldier who was sent to Boston in exile in November 1651 before settling in Rhode Island.

The genetic link was discovered because Marilyn’s grandfather shared the same Y chromosome as other descendants of John Munro. Now Clan Munro USA are offering free DNA tests to Scottish men with the surname Munro to see if any of them are related to the blonde bombshell.

Tests will help prove Scottish heritage

Mark Monroe, who lives in Austin, Texas, said: “Like all clans, Munro men, however they spell the name, have a mix of male genetic lines. Last year we found that many Scots Munros are related to US President James Monroe.

“Descendants of John of Rhode Island also form a large genetic group in present-day America and it would be good to find their relatives among present-day Scots men.”

The tests will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis and it is hoped the results will prove the Marilyn originated from the Scottish Highlands.

Colin Munro, one of the project’s backers, said: ““In addition to trying to prove a Ross-shire origin for Marilyn’s ancestor, it would be good to establish the main male ancestral DNA types in the Munro home territory.”

Sons inherit their Y chromosome from their father and it is passed down the paternal line unchanged, mutating only once every 10,000 years. As this chromosome stays the same across generations, it is useful for establishing whether people share a common ancestor.

AlphaBiolabs offers a Y chromosome DNA test, which can prove whether or not two men are biologically linked through their paternal line. The results cannot tell someone what their exact relationship is but they can establish that they are from the same family.

People can also find out more about where they come from with an ancestry test which can tell them which parts of the world their DNA originates from.

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