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Thread: Genetic History of the British Isles [book thread]

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    Genetic History of the British Isles [book thread]



    I'm looking for some good books which cover the matter of the genetic history of the British Isles, or more specifically Scotland, although i doubt there would be any which focus on Scotland itself.

    On my research into the matter i've came across the following books:
    Blood of the Isles - Bryan Sykes
    The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story - Stephen Oppenheimer

    These seem to be the two current main books on the issue, has anyone read them? Are there any other books that are useful in the subject?

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    Oh and i wasn't sure where to post this, so sorry if its not in the right area

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    Don't use Oppenheimer for anything other than maybe the relative concentrations of haplogroups he found in different regions; the conclusions he draws in the book are all totally wrong. I'm less familiar with Sykes but it was published before we understood more about the age of haplogroups in Britain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Don't use Oppenheimer for anything other than maybe the relative concentrations of haplogroups he found in different regions; the conclusions he draws in the book are all totally wrong. I'm less familiar with Sykes but it was published before we understood more about the age of haplogroups in Britain.
    Like how i think he said that the Britons originate from the Basque people instead of the Celts? Something along those lines

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blau View Post
    Like how i think he said that the Britons originate from the Basque people instead of the Celts? Something along those lines
    Right, and he used R1b as the proof of that, judging based solely on frequencies. He saw that Y-DNA haplogroup R1b was highest in Basques and British Celts, so he concluded that "British Celts" are actually "Basques"! And since we all know that Basques are all pure unadulterated Stone Age Europeans, that must be what the "British Celts" are as well! And he also tosses around some nonsense about how R1b was in Iberia in the Ice Age and how it all proves that Celtic language was spread by cultural transmission alone and all that.

    As recent research has found, R1b came to Western Europe in the Neolithic at the earliest (with its spread coming more around the Bronze Age). That means that Basques are relatively recent arrivals on their Y-lines, not that British Celts are ancient. Furthermore, Basques have distinct R1b subclades not shared by Celtic peoples, indicating that they're distinct populations. There are a couple of models that are feasible to describe the expansion of R1b peoples into Britain given the data, including the Halstatt/La Tene expansion (especially when taken together with earlier migrations), but the post-Ice Age out-of-Iberia model isn't a good one at all.

    Others have been coming to a better understanding of British genetics than Oppenheimer, including Sir Walter Bodmer at the People of the British Isles Genome Project. He is supposed to be coming out with something substantial soon, if he hasn't already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Right, and he used R1b as the proof of that, judging based solely on frequencies. He saw that Y-DNA haplogroup R1b was highest in Basques and British Celts, so he concluded that "British Celts" are actually "Basques"!
    Did the majority of Western European cultures pre Indo-European expansion not have I haplogroups anyway? I've always been doubtful of his conculsions. Do you happen to know whether he goes into the subclades of R1b? I think the book would be worthwhile getting just for his research and findings.

    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Others have been coming to a better understanding of British genetics than Oppenheimer, including Sir Walter Bodmer at the People of the British Isles Genome Project. He is supposed to be coming out with something substantial soon, if he hasn't already.
    Ok thank you, i'll keep an eye out and look!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blau View Post
    Did the majority of Western European cultures pre Indo-European expansion not have I haplogroups anyway?
    So far, Neolithic samples have been more G2 than anything, although you're right that Haplogroup I probably came to Europe earlier than G2 and may have even originated in Europe. We don't have a good understanding yet of what Paleolithic European Y-DNA admixture would have looked like, because the only haplogroup we're sure is Paleolithic (I) bottlenecked too severely to draw many conclusions about its ancient history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blau View Post
    I've always been doubtful of his conculsions. Do you happen to know whether he goes into the subclades of R1b? I think the book would be worthwhile getting just for his research and findings.
    He uses a sort of clustering method that could have been better. See Campbell on Oppenheimer's clusters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Don't use Oppenheimer for anything other than maybe the relative concentrations of haplogroups he found in different regions; the conclusions he draws in the book are all totally wrong. I'm less familiar with Sykes but it was published before we understood more about the age of haplogroups in Britain.
    What do you think about Oppenheimer's version of the "Frisian Gene", R1b-8, which he claims migrated from Britain to Fresia, rather than the other way around?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCoutts View Post
    What do you think about Oppenheimer's version of the "Frisian Gene", R1b-8, which he claims migrated from Britain to Fresia, rather than the other way around?
    I can't say that I've researched it, but I've grown to distrust Oppenheimer's conclusions. Isn't "R1b-8" just R1b-L21? If so, it almost certainly went the way that we expect it to have gone, with maybe just a bit of back-migration. Of course, there are a lot of theories about R1b-L21...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    He uses a sort of clustering method that could have been better. See Campbell on Oppenheimer's clusters.
    Sorry i've just seen this, thank you.

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