19 March 2015 - Britain's DNA reveals German ancestry
Genetic study reveals 30% of white British DNA has German ancestry
Hannah Devlin (The Guardian)
The Romans, Vikings and Normans may have ruled or invaded the British for hundreds of years, but they left barely a trace on our DNA, the first detailed study of the genetics of British people has revealed.
The analysis shows that the Anglo-Saxons were the only conquering force, around 400-500 AD, to substantially alter the country’s genetic makeup, with most white British people now owing almost 30% of their DNA to the ancestors of modern-day Germans.
People living in southern and central England today typically share about 40% of their DNA with the French, 11% with the Danes and 9% with the Belgians, the study of more than 2,000 people found. The French contribution was not linked to the Norman invasion of 1066, however, but a previously unknown wave of migration to Britain some time after then end of the last Ice Age nearly 10,000 years ago.
James Vincent (The Verge)
"It’s really the first time that scientists have looked in great detail within a country at patterns of genetic variation," said Peter Donnelly, a professor of statistical science at the University of Oxford and one of the paper's lead authors.
The genetic data was collected from Caucasians living in rural areas. Scientists selected people whose grandparents were all born within 80 kilometers of each other. "Because we inherit DNA from our parents," said Donnelly, "and they inherit their DNA from their parents... If was as if we were able to sample DNA from the population at the time the grandparents were born, and that’s roughly in the late 1800s."
Celts and Vikings
Andy Coghlan (The New Scientist)
The analysis also springs some surprises. There was no single Celtic population outside the Anglo-Saxon dominated areas, but instead a large number of genetically distinct populations (see map). The DNA signatures of people in the neighbouring counties of Devon and Cornwall are more different than between northern England and Scotland. And there are also unexpectedly stark differences between inhabitants in the north and south of the Welsh county of Pembrokeshire.
The only appreciable genetic input from the Vikings is in the Orkney Islands, which were part of Norway for 600 years. Viking DNA accounts for 25 per cent of today's Orcadian DNA.
Fiona MacRae (The Daily Mail)
They see themselves as rivals rather than neighbours – and the genetic map explains why.
For it has revealed that the inhabitants of Cornwall and Devon are two distinct groups.
Remarkably, the divide in their DNA is an almost exact match for the modern geographical boundary – those with Cornish genes tend to live on one side of the Tamar, while those with Devonian DNA are on the other. The Cornish have fewer genes in common with the rest of the UK. Dr Magdalena Skipper, of the journal Nature, described the match as ‘truly stunning’.
Oxford University researcher Sir Walter Bodmer said the difference could probably be explained by the Anglo-Saxons taking longer to reach the isolated peninsula of Cornwall – and so contributing less DNA to the gene pool there than in Devon.
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"19 March 2015 - Britain's DNA reveals German ancestry", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mars 2015. Consulté le 10/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2015/19-march-2015-britain-s-dna-reveals-german-ancestry