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Thread: Genetic landscape of Scotland and the Isles

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    2 members found this post helpful.

    Genetic landscape of Scotland and the Isles

    See:
    Edmund Gilbert et al...

    https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2.../27/1904761116

    Well, they had to drill pretty far down to see it, but there is definite substructure in Scotland, and in the rest of the British Isles, as we knew from prior papers.

    "Britain and Ireland are known to show population genetic structure; however, large swathes of Scotland, in particular, have yet to be described. Delineating the structure and ancestry of these populations will allow variant discovery efforts to focus efficiently on areas not represented in existing cohorts. Thus, we assembled genotype data for 2,554 individuals from across the entire archipelago with geographically restricted ancestry, and performed population structure analyses and comparisons to ancient DNA. Extensive geographic structuring is revealed, from broad scales such as a NE to SW divide in mainland Scotland, through to the finest scale observed to date: across 3 km in the Northern Isles. Many genetic boundaries are consistent with Dark Age kingdoms of Gaels, Picts, Britons, and Norse. Populations in the Hebrides, the Highlands, Argyll, Donegal, and the Isle of Man show characteristics of isolation. We document a pole of Norwegian ancestry in the north of the archipelago (reaching 23 to 28% in Shetland) which complements previously described poles of Germanic ancestry in the east, and “Celtic” to the west. This modern genetic structure suggests a northwestern British or Irish source population for the ancient Gaels that contributed to the founding of Iceland. As rarer variants, often with larger effect sizes, become the focus of complex trait genetics, more diverse rural cohorts may be required to optimize discoveries in British and Irish populations and their considerable global diaspora."

    Interesting how the Hebrides differ from the Orkneys and Shetland in terms of Scandinavian ancestry.

    "
    Loyalty of Scots to their Pictish roots is still present today and the nation is divided into six genetic clusters: The Borders, the south-west, the north-east, the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland."

    "
    It revealed high Norwegian ancestry in the Northern Isles clusters, up to 23 per cent of people, in Shetland, and little Norse origin elsewhere. "

    "
    Most of the Norwegian-like ancestry in Britain and Ireland appeared to originate from Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane, counties in western Norway.This is considered to be the homeland of many Vikings who set sail for pastures new.
    Analysis also unearthed that Orkney and Shetland had the highest levels of Norwegian ancestry outside Scandinavia.
    It also hinted that many of the islands off the coast of Scotland have their own unique genetic identity. "



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    This is just trivia, but I recently watched a detective series called "Shetland". It wasn't bad, but I was more interested in Shetland itself, the life style, the climate etc., enough so that I looked it up.

    Despite the latitude, the temperature is warmer than you might expect.

    "Shetland has an oceanic temperate maritime climate (Köppen: Cfb), bordering on, but very slightly above average in summer temperatures, the subpolar variety, with long but cool winters and short mild summers. The climate all year round is moderate owing to the influence of the surrounding seas, with average night-time low temperatures a little above 1 °C (34 °F) in January and February and average daytime high temperatures of near 14 °C (57 °F) in July and August.[29] The highest temperature on record was 28.0 °C (82.4 °F) on the 6th of August 1910[30] and the lowest −8.9 °C (16.0 °F) in the Januaries of 1952 and 1959.[31] "

    Lots of great fishing too, of course, and lucky for them that's near where all the oil deposits have been found.

    Not surprising that they're somewhat inbred. Even today, you have to depend on boats which don't sail too often, or a small plane flight.

    For history buffs, I think this is where the mother of the notorious Mitford girls retreated. I can certainly understand, poor woman. I've always remembered the pictures of her on her barren looking Shetland farm. She looked as devastated as her surroundings.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29351187

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    This is very interesting paper and thanks for the link. Like many of us in New Zealand I am a mix of English, Scot and Northern Irish. Three great grandparents from N Ireland and one from Strathclyde Scotland. It is interesting to see the Sco-Ire cluster of the N. Ireland and SW Scotland area so clearly defined, and to note that the Borders area is of English origin separated by a 'genetic barrier'. The degree of Norway genetic influence is also informative. At an average of 7% for Ireland, it is lower than expected. In North and SW Scotland it is only 4%. My autosomal DNA shows 6% Norwegian and this study seems to confirm it was most likely from the Irish connection.

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