Wednesday, July 4, 2012

People of the British Isles - Genetic Maps

People of the British Isles

Genetic Maps

on exhibit this week

A genetic map of the British people has been produced by Oxford University researchers.

It forms the centerpiece of their display at the Royal Society's free Summer Science Exhibition, which opens July 3, 2012. The Event runs all week - Monday to Sunday inclusive, and is an annual Event. There are 19 exhibits.

 The remarkable thing about the map is how much people sharing similar gene variations cluster geographically.

The groupings often appear to match the separate historical pasts of different areas of Britain, following ancient enmities or reflecting differences that we hold onto today about where in the country we come from.

On the genetic map of Britain, Cornish people clustered separately from those from Devon, while the Scottish and Irish tended to share the same DNA markers. Those in South Wales formed a group, while there were separate clusters in the Welsh borders and in Anglesey in North Wales. People in Orkney were different from everyone else.

In England, the majority of the South, South-East and Midlands formed one large group. Cumbria, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders seemed to share a common past. And Lancashire and Yorkshire, despite their rivalry, seemed to be as one genetically.

'We first set out to map genetic variation across the UK,' says Professor Peter Donnelly, director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and one of the scientists involved in the project. 'Our results show striking patterns of genetic clustering within different geographical regions of the UK. By comparing the different UK clusters with potential source populations from Europe we are able to learn more about the history of the people of the British Isles.'

The 'People of the British Isles' project began in 2004 with funding from the Wellcome Trust.
Oxford University researchers traveled across the British Isles collecting blood samples from more than 4,000 people whose four grandparents all came from the same area.

UK samples (The People of the British Isles), are aimed at providing a resource to the research community,
as well as providing a fine-scale genetic information on the British population.

So far, some 4000 samples have been collected, the majority of which fit the criteria of coming from a rural area and having all four grandparents from approximately the same area. Analysis of the first 3865 samples (that have been coded according to geography) indicates that 75% have a mean distance between grandparent places of birth of 37.3 km, and that about 70% of grandparent places of birth can be classed as rural.

Full article:

Medical Xpress article, July 3, 2012:

"Genetic Map of Britain goes on Display"
Royal Society "Science Live 2012" article:

Links to high definition Tiff or PDF file from the Royal Society:

British Isles Genetic Maps (PDF)
British Isles Genetic Maps (tiff)

People of the British Isles web site:

papers on the web site:

First paper
Commentary on the paper

You Tube video:

                        People of the British Isles:  
                         The Landscape of Islay:

People of the British Isles - Sir Walter Bodmer
People of the British Isles - Sir Walter Bodmer



European Journal of Human Genetics (scientific article from Aug 10, 2011)

by Bruce Winney, et. al.

Article by Debbie Kennett on the Cruwys Blog:

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