Are you a Celt? Or a Gael? Viking or British? Well it might depend on where you come from in Ireland according to a new study.
A genetic map has been created by researchers that reveals the impact of immigration, invasion and plantation throughout Irish history.
The study was carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Genealogical Society of Ireland (GSI). They have published their findings in the paper ‘The Irish DNA Atlas: Revealing Fine-Scale Population Structure and History within Ireland’.
The study found that there are various genetic clusters across the island of Ireland, which roughly correlate with major events in Irish history such as the invasion of the Vikings and the Ulster Plantations.
It is believed that these findings can help with the diagnosis of various genetic diseases within people of Irish ancestry.
Edmund Gilbert of the RCSI, first author on the paper, said: “We have demonstrated that the structure emerging from genetic similarity within Ireland mirrors historical kingdoms of Ireland, and that Ireland acts as a sink of Celtic ancestry.
“Additionally, we find evidence of a west-Norwegian-like ancestry that we believe is a signature of the Norse Vikings.
“We also observe the impact of historical events, such as the Ulster Plantations, on the DNA of the people of Ireland.”
Co-author Michael Merrigan added: “We now get a clearer, scientifically-based map of the distribution and settlement of our ancestral groups across the island of Ireland.
“Historians and students of medieval Ireland have now a wonderful resource on the movements and inter-relationships of our ancestor groups through their DNA.”
Co-author of the paper Sean Ennis added: “Having a genetic map of the Irish population will be invaluable in studies of the genetic component of some common diseases in the Irish population, especially those diseases which show a difference in prevalence rates across the island of Ireland.”
You can find out more about the study by visiting www.rcsi.ie.