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Thread: Scientists go in Search of the True Brit

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    Post Scientists go in Search of the True Brit

    Scientists are to launch a £2 million study to uncover the genetic make-up of the British people. The aim is to find tell-tale pieces of DNA that will reveal the influences - including those of the Vikings, Saxons and Celts - which have shaped regional populations.

    Researchers will take blood from thousands of volunteers from Cornwall to Shetland and from Kent to Tyrone. The samples will then be used to isolate key pieces of DNA that best identify how the different races, tribes and invaders have influenced the country's modern population.

    This data will not only be used to create a genetic history; it will generate vital information about patterns of diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease and other conditions in various parts of the country. Such data could also provide researchers with ways of identifying people at risk of succumbing to common illnesses.

    The project - to be carried out by Oxford University researchers and funded by the Wellcome Trust - is intended to provide a complete overview of the nation's genetic structure, though researchers say only those living in the countryside will be asked to take part.

    'Urban populations are already far too mixed up for us to be able to tease out their genetic roots,' said the project's leader, Sir Walter Bodmer. 'However, in the country there has been much less genetic input from "outsiders" over the past century. People there will give us a far better picture of ancient population patterns.'

    To be included in the study, not only will a person have to have lived in one rural locality, but his or her parents and grandparents will also have been residents of that neighbourhood. 'A century ago, public transport - mainly trains - had not had a major effect in shaking up the population,' said Bodmer. 'We want to find the descendants of such people.'

    A key example of the kind of information scientists hope will be generated by the project - which will take several years - is provided by recent studies in the Orkneys, islands that were Viking strongholds between 800 and 1300AD. However, historians did not know whether the Vikings arrived as 'total' colonisers - with their wives and families - or if Viking men raided the islands then settled down with local women.

    Scientists used two key pieces of DNA to get the answer. First, they used mitochondrial DNA which is passed on only by mothers; second, they exploited the Y chromosome, inherited only from fathers. The mitochondrial DNA of Orkney people was found to be similar to that of people in the rest of Britain, but the Y chromosomes of Orkney men were found to be Scandinavian. Thus science suggests that Viking raiders took local brides. By contrast, the Roman invasion is reckoned to have had only a minor genetic impact because few Romans settled in Britain.

    It is this sort of research that the Oxford scientists - who will also include professors Peter Donnelly and Lon Cardon - expect to repeat throughout Britain. Just what influence did the Celts have and what remains of their genes? What lingering remnants of the Saxons or Normans still flow in our blood and how do they influence the various ailments we are prone to?

    'We will look for about 2,000 genetic variations or markers in our subjects,' said Bodmer. 'We will look at how common a piece of DNA is in one group of people compared with those who have lived in another area. That will provide us with enough data to pinpoint all the key genetic influences involved in shaping the British people. It will also allow us to determine which variants of common genes are associated with which common illnesses.'

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_ne...283453,00.html

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    Post Re: Scientists go in search of the true Brit

    Interesting if they can make it. But in the case that the current situation will not change, the sad thing is this will be in some years a study about which people lived on the island long time ago...

    But I hope they get the results, interesting and important for the whole of Europe, soon.
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    Post Re: Scientists go in search of the true Brit

    Quote Originally Posted by Vetinari
    'Urban populations are already far too mixed up for us to be able to tease out their genetic roots,' said the project's leader, Sir Walter Bodmer. 'However, in the country there has been much less genetic input from "outsiders" over the past century. People there will give us a far better picture of ancient population patterns.'

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