A DNA study of the people of Britain has surprised many by showing that there is no distinct, unique Celtic group in the country – people in Scotland and Cornwall have more in common with the English than other Celtic groups, for example.
The findings also throw a new light on the invasion of the Britain by the Anglo Saxons in from the fifth century. It appears they did not wipe out the early Britons but interbred with them.
following detailed DNA analysis of 2,000 mostly middle-aged Caucasian people living across the UK.
Nevertheless, the study led by Peter Donnelly who co-led the study, that was published in Nature shows genetic clusters in regions of the UK, consistent with tribal groupings in ancient kingdoms.
“Many of the genetic clusters we see in the west and north are similar to the tribal groupings and kingdoms around, and just after, the time of the Saxon invasion, suggesting these kingdoms maintained a regional identity for many years,” Donnelly told the BBC.
“We see striking similarities between the genetic patterns we see now and some of these regional identities and kingdoms we see in AD 600, and we think some of that may well be remnants of the groupings that existed then.”
Some of the key findings include:
- There is a marked division between the people of Cornwall and Devon that almost exactly matches the county border.
- The People of Devon are distinct to those from neighbouring Dorset.
- People in the north of England are genetically more similar to people in Scotland than they are to those in the south of England.
- People in North and South Wales are more different from each other than the English are from the Scots.
- There are two genetic groupings in Northern Ireland.
Originally published by Cosmos as DNA study dismisses unique Celtic people
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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