The Viking DNA Project

The Viking DNA Project

Responsable du projet/Project leader : Turi King (tek2@le.ac.uk)Établissement principal/Main institution : University de Leicester

Projet en cours/Project in progress

Description :

In this study we aim to look at the proportion of Viking ancestry in different parts of the north of England.

As a group of islands on the edge of a continent, we know that the British Isles have been on the receiving end of numerous migrations. The peopling has occurred in waves, from early Paleolithic settlers, through to the spread of farmers during the Neolithic, the arrival of Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and Danish and Norse Vikings. The modern population also includes likely trace contributions from other groups, too. The contributions of these various groups to the modern population of the British Isles is debated, and the purpose of this research project is to use genetic methods to contribute to our understanding of these past events. To carry out this research we can use surnames, and information about the birthplaces of recent ancestors.

Most people get their surnames from their father, and men also inherit specific genetic material (DNA) from their father too. This is the Y chromosome, which is responsible for making males. We know that a Y chromosome type can relate to a particular surname and we also know that most surnames are linked to particular regions. Thus by sampling men with specific surnames and/or with ancestry in particular locations, we should be able to draw up a map of the different types of Y chromosome types found in different regions in the past. We will look, for example, at regions where we suspect that there was a strong influence of Norse Vikings and compare the Y chromosomes found here with ones found in Norway.

The only criteria for participating has been that you are a man whose father’s father was born in the county of Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Durham or Northumberland and that you have one of the surnames that are thought to be ‘northern’ surnames.


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