How did we get here? NASA

Take a look at the regions of Europe that had the greatest genetic influence on the people of the U.K.

New research from geneticists and historians at Oxford University uses DNA analysis to identify patterns of immigration from Europe to the U.K. The DNA of longtime British residents—those from family lines that have been in the U.K. since the 19th century—tells a story of the influence of the French, Germans, Danish, and Scandinavian on people in the U.K. today.

The study, which published this week in Nature, analyzed the DNA of more than 2,000 U.K. individuals whose grandparents were born less than 80 km apart in rural Britain. By searching for commonly occurring variations in subjects’ genetic code, the researchers were able to pinpoint geographic regions of genetic similarity. Here’s a map showing the groups they identified:

(Nature)

The researchers then analyzed the genomes of more than 6,000 people from 10 different European countries and identified similar genetic groups within that sample. They then compared the two samples using statistical methods to determine the likelihood that different genetic codes traced back to the same ancestors. Based on the analysis, the researchers were able to identify the regions of Europe that had the greatest genetic impact on Britain.

Here’s a map showing the results of that analysis. This diagram shows the most impactful European genetic groups on the vertical axis, with the British genetic groups on the horizontal axis. The height of the column represents the degree of relation of one group to the other. For example, people from North Wales are most closely related to those from northwest France (FRA 14) and western Germany (GER 6).

(Nature)

What’s fascinating about these maps is they confirm a history of Britain we already knew. For example, in the Orkney islands in northern Scotland, the influence of the Norse Vikings (who traveled to Britain to raid and trade towards the end of the first millennium) is genetically apparent.

(Nature)

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

Elon Musk Says "Range Anxiety" Is a Mental Problem

This New Gucci Smartwatch Already Looks Old

A Bunch of U.S. Congressmen Are Wonking Out With the Nerds at SXSW

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  2. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  3. Transportation

    In Paris, a Very Progressive Agenda Is Going Mainstream

    Boosted by big sustainability wins, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pitching bold plans to make the city center “100 percent bicycle” and turn office space into housing.

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. Equity

    What ‘Livability’ Looks Like for Black Women

    Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of ranking.

×