Scottish Genetic Landscape Echoes the DNA of Past Kingdoms

A study, including ORCADES and VIKING volunteer data, has found that the genetics of people across Scotland today still has similarities to distant ancestors.

Map of Scottish Genetics

The research used genetic data from health research studies across Britain and Ireland and compared this against ancient DNA. Many of the genetic patterns found were similar to the genes found in Gaels, Picts, Britons and the Norse.

The extent of Norse Viking ancestry was measured across the North of Britain. The genetic diversity of these regions will allow a better understanding of Viking movements and the founding of Iceland. This is the first time the genetic map of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland can be seen in its entirety, researchers say.

The research team showed that data from people living in more rural areas may be required to make new medical research discoveries in British and Irish populations. This is particularly important as rarer genetic changes become a key focus of genetic research, as they often have a larger impact on health.

We'd like to thank Viking volunteers from Orkney and Shetland, who provided important data for this paper. We'd also like to recognise the important involvement of the research nurses, in Orkney and Shetland, as well as the laboratory and administrative teams in Edinburgh.

We'd also like to thank the other population studies that helped to provide this data, including Generation Scotland and The Irish DNA Atlas Project.

The team of researchers, led by Prof Jim Wilson, have had the paper, called “The Genetic Landscape of Scotland and the Isles”, published in the scientific journal 'PNAS.'  You can find this article below:

The Genetic Landscape of Scotland and the Isles

The BBC has also covered this exciting new finding and you can read their article here:

Scotland's genetic landscape reflects Dark Age populations