Skip to comments.Y Chromosomes Rewrite British History
Posted on 06/24/2003 10:33:30 AM PDT by blam
Y chromosomes rewrite British history
Anglo-Saxons' genetic stamp weaker than historians suspected
19 June 2003
Some Scottish men's Y's are remarkably similar to those of southern England. © GettyImages
A new survey of Y chromosomes in the British Isles suggests that the Anglo-Saxons failed to leave as much of a genetic stamp on the UK as history books imply1.
Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Vikings and Normans invaded Britain repeatedly between 50 BC and AD 1050. Many historians ascribe much of the British ancestry to the Anglo-Saxons because their written legacy overshadows that of the Celts.
But the Y chromosomes of the regions tell a different story. "The Celts weren't pushed to the fringes of Scotland and Wales; a lot of them remained in England and central Ireland," says study team member David Goldstein, of University College London. This is surprising: the Anglo-Saxons reputedly colonized southern England heavily.
The Anglo-Saxons and Danes left their mark in central and eastern England, and mainland Scotland, the survey says, and the biological traces of Norwegian invaders show up in the northern British Isles, including Orkney.
Similar studies, including one by the same team, have looked at differences in mitochondrial DNA, which we inherit from our mothers. They found little regional variation because females tended to move to their husbands.
But the Y chromosome shows sharper differences from one geographic region to the next, says geneticist Luca Cavalli-Sforza, of Stanford University, California. "The Y chromosome has a lower mutation rate than mitrochondrial DNA."
Goldstein's team collected DNA samples from more than 1,700 men living in towns across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They took a further 400 DNA samples from continental Europeans, including Germans and Basques. Only men whose paternal grandfathers had dwelt within 20 miles of their current home were eligible.
The Y chromosomes of men from Wales and Ireland resemble those of the Basques. Some believe that the Basques, from the border of France and Spain, are the original Europeans.
The new survey is an example of how archaeologists, prehistorians and geneticists are beginning to collaborate, comments Chris Tyler-Smith of the University of Oxford, UK, who tracks human evolution using the Y chromosome. "It would be nice to see the whole world surveyed in this kind of detail, but it's expensive and there are other priorities."
References Capelli, C. et al. A Y chromosome census of the British Isles. Current Biology, 13, 979 - 984, (2003). |Article|
© Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2003
Churchill made an off-hand remark about that physical characteristic in his "History of the English-Speaking People."
I agree. In fact, I think there is a tremendous business opportunity here. The person/business who has the largest DNA 'library' and a cheap/fast comparsion method will be worth millions, IMO.
The volume part of the business will be comparing individuals and selling geneology lineages. As you obtain more and more samples, previously unknown human migratory patterns will emerge and that information can be sold.
You could in effect rewrite human prehistory. Researchers would come to you for specific information contained in your 'library.'
Yup. Read that years ago and could never figure out who were the 'long faced' people he referred to.(?)
Are they related to the sumbitches? (We could be related, lol)
Any bets on the subject of Ray Capt's next opus?
Heck, it might even be 36 pages of scholarship (including covers).
That doesn't sound like a very large sample. There must be at least 50,000 settlements in the UK. Seems like a pretty tenuous basis to start rewriting history.
Like "Mr. Bean".
Yup. Don't be suprised to see some ideas discussed on FR contained in the book.
I have an old copy of Life's Picture History of World War II wherein there's a picture of a British air raid warden during the blitz (looked, but couldn't find it on-line). He'd be your quintessential "long faced person."
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