Genetic Differences between Five European Populations

Aims: We sought to examine the magnitude of the differences in SNP allele frequencies between five European populations (Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Bulgaria and Portugal) and to identify the loci with the greatest differences.

Notice (on the left) the number of SNPs with significant (p=0.05) differences between population varies between a low for the Scotland-Ireland pair to a high for the Sweden-Portugal one.

Fig. 2 you can see the occurrence of 4 distinct clusters corresponding to the four corners of Europe, and also a barely perceptible tilting of Scotland toward Sweden relative to Ireland, within the NW cluster. As always, we should not interpret this as a lack of distinctiveness of the two populations, as such distinctiveness may hide in either higher-order dimensions, or a combination of more markers/individuals to be able to discern it. We could, however, say, as common sense would also dictate that these two populations are very close to each other in the European context.