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Thread: The English-Dutch Genetic Affiliation

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    The English-Dutch Genetic Affiliation

    I thought the following table found at Dienekes' blog was quite interesting.




    1. Mordovian
    2. Slavic
    3. Irish
    4. English/British
    5. German
    6. Mini-cluster of 2 related Germans?
    7. Scandinavian
    8. Finnish 1
    9. Finnish 2
    10. Lithuanian
    11. Orkney
    12. Vologda Russians (HGDP)
    13. Mini-cluster of 2 Vologda Russians
    14. Mini-cluster of 2 Vologda Russians
    15. Mini-cluster of 2 Vologda Russians
    16. Mini-cluster of 2 Kent English
    17. Mini-cluster of 2 Kent English
    18. Cornwall
    19. Mini-cluster of 2 Cornwall
    20. Argyll
    21. Mini-cluster of 2 Mordovians


    What the table shows is how members of the listed populations fall into genetic clusters. The numbers across the top of the table correspond to the genetic clusters listed above. The numbers along each population's horizontal grid denote the number of members from that population that fall into each genetic cluster. The sum of these numbers should add up to the total number of candidates in each population, which is listed next to each population under 'N'. So, for example, we see that there are 22 Irish candidates. 19 fall into cluster 3, 2 into cluster 4, and 1 into cluster 5. Cluster 3 is 'Irish', cluster 4 is 'English/British' and number 5 is 'German'. This means that while the majority of Irish candidates cluster with the genetic Irish cluster, three do not, and instead cluster with the English or the Germans.

    To me, the most interesting feature, though, was that the majority (5 out of 9) of Dutchmen clustered with the English. Granted, this was because there was no 'Dutch' genetic cluster available, and if there were, most, and maybe all, Dutchmen would have clustered as their own group. However, in the absence of a perfect cluster to fall into, candidates fall into the most closely related cluster, which, for the majority of Dutchmen, was the English rather than immediate continental neighbours, with whom they presumably have had much more extensive recent genetic contact.

    The sample is only small, and the Dutch are at the disadvantage of not having their own cluster included in the analysis (whether this is because no such cluster could be identified, I can't say, but given that even Kent, Cornwall, Argyll and Orkney have their own genetic clusters, it seems unlikely that the Dutch do not, and more likely that a Dutch cluster was omitted thanks to other considerations). It'd be interesting to be able to manipulate the analysis and see how the affiliations of other populations are redistributed if their own genetic cluster is removed from the analysis. It would also be interesting to see if other Low Countries are similarly related to the English/British rather than to other continentals, or the Dutch-English relation is more specific.

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    This is a very interesting post and way of looking at this. Unfortunately, presumably due to the small sample numbers, there isn't a great deal of cross over for most of the groups. I would imagine a larger sample size would give an even better view of the racial relationships between Nations.

    Also, aside from the Dutch who didn't have their own category to begin with, the Germans and the Irish were the only Nations to have their results spread over 3 categories, which surprises me, especially in the Irish case.
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    Germans are really only in two ethnic categories, because one category is 'general German' while another is 'a subcluster (maybe a familial one) within the German population', so 20 out of 21 Germans clustered with their own, in some form or other.

    The Irish results are a bit strange. It's not too strange that two clustered as 'English/British', given the heavy settlement over time of Welsh ('Walsh' being one of the most common Irish surnames) and English gentrymen in Eire, and Scots in Northern Ireland (from whom there could have been a gentle percolation down to the ethnic Irish in Southern Ireland). The one Irishman who clustered with the Germans is a little harder to explain. If German genes reached Ireland by mediation of the English, then surely, since English cluster as 'English/British' and not German, an affected Irishmen would similarly cluster. I do know there's been a gentle trickle of Germans to Ireland over the past few centuries, but I'd be surprised if it was significant enough to alter genetic affiliations.

    Also, if you follow the link to Dieneke's blog, you'll find a few more populations that my screenshot didn't cover, including several British regional samples, which is interesting. One person (out of four) people from Argyll clustered with the Cornish, which might hint at some substratum of pre-Celtic influence in Western Britain. It'd be interesting to see whether the Welsh cluster with the Cornish in the absence of a category of their own.

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