Leslie S et al. The fine-scale genetic structure of the British population. Nature 2015.
Quotes from the paper authors
Sir Walter Bodmer from the University of Oxford, who conceived the People of the British Isles study and co-led the work, said: “The People of the British Isles study gave us a wonderful opportunity to learn about the fine-scale genetic patterns in the UK population. A key part of our success was collecting DNA from a geographically diverse group of people who are representative of their location. We are very grateful to all the volunteers who participated in the study.”
Professor Peter Donnelly, Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford, who co-led the research, said: “It has long been known that human populations differ genetically, but never before have we been able to observe such exquisite and fascinating detail. By coupling this with our assessment of the genetic contributions from different parts of Europe we were able to add to our understanding of UK population history.”
Dr Stephen Leslie, of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Australia, and one of the lead authors of the study, said: “Rich genetic information such as this tells us a great deal about our history and augments what we know already from archaeology, linguistic and historical records. Much of what we’ve learned about our history comes from the successful people of society, as they leave the strongest marks on history and archaeology. By using genetics and powerful statistical methods, we have been able to tell the story of the masses.”
Dr Garrett Hellenthal, co-lead author of the study at UCL (University College London), said: “To tease out the subtle genetic differences between UK regions we had to use sophisticated statistical methods that model how our genomes are made up of stretches of DNA, passed down the generations from our ancestors.”
Professor Simon Myers, from the University of Oxford, who co-led the development of the statistical approaches used in the study, said: “In future, increasingly large datasets will allow us to learn even more about the genetic history of the UK, and the similarly rich histories of other world regions, by applying similar techniques.”
Professor Mark Robinson, an archaeologist on the project from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, said: “The results give an answer to the question we had never previously thought we would be able to ask about the degree of British survival after the collapse of Roman Britain and the coming of the Saxons.”
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