16 June 2015
Significant numbers of Scots carry the DNA lineage of past Norse, Irish and Viking invaders, new DNA research has revealed. ...
Significant numbers of Scots carry the DNA lineage of past Norse, Irish and Viking invaders, new DNA research has revealed.
The research, carried out by Scotland's DNA, tested the genetic make-up of more than 5,000 British men - revealing significant differences between the genetic markers of Scottish and English men. The volunteers were tested through markers on the Y-chromosome DNA, which is passed from father to son.
The research revealed that men in communities in Argyll, Perthshire, Tayside and Angus carry DNA which is very rare in England, and points to the impact that overseas invasions had on ancient Scotland. Researchers found 12 per cent of men in Argyll and south Scotland carried the M222 chromosome, which is believed to have been brought over from Ireland from the fifth century, when Irish invaders crossed the North Channel. These men are believed by the researchers to be direct descendants of the first Irish High King – Niall Noigiallach.
This DNA is very rare in England, with no appearance in East Anglia, 1 percent in Yorkshire and central England, and 2 percent in the South-east and the South-west. Scots comedian Rory Bremner was among those who shared this DNA.
One of Scotland’s lost tribes, the Picts, has also been traced after disappearing from their heartlands near the rivers Forth and Clyde following Viking attacks in the ninth century.
In the heartland of the southern Pictish kingdoms, Tayside, Perthshire, Fife and Angus, nearly one-fifth of men carry the Pictish male lineage, yet this marker is barely present in England with an average of 1 per cent of men carrying the genetic code.
And Viking DNA is still very much present in 21st century Scotland - as research shows that 29.2 per cent of descendants in Shetland have the DNA, 25.2 per cent in Orkney and 17.5 per cent in Caithness. This compares with just with 5.6 per cent of men in Yorkshire carrying Norse DNA.
A STRIKING IMPACT
Alistair Moffat, historian and co-founder of the business, said: 'We measured all of this DNA and started to realise there was a real difference between places in the UK. They are really quite striking. There is no doubt of the impact these invaders had on Scotland’s population.'
To find out more about Scotland's DNA and DNA testing, visit the website.
READ OUR EXPERT GUIDE TO THE SILK TRADE IN THE VIKING AGE