[Press & Publications] Gaelic Genetics

March 2000

No 62

The Irish have always known that they are a race apart - now geneticists have proved it.

A group including Dr Mark Jobling, of the University of Leicester's Genetics Department, and led by Daniel Bradley, of Trinity College, Dublin, have found that men with Gaelic surnames from the west of Ireland stand out like a genetic landmark from more recent arrivals to the country.

The work, published in the journal Nature, has used methods developed in Leicester to analyse the male-specific Y chromosome, and shows that one particular type of Y chromosome is present in 98.3% of the natives of Connaught, the westernmost province of the country.

This is the thick end of a wedge that begins in Turkey, where only 1.8% of men carry this type. The frequency rises steadily the further west you go - the Irish retain the pre-Neolithic variant displaced by the inventors of farming, who migrated out of the Middle East across Europe in the Stone Age.

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, contact Dr Mark A Jobling, Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3427/3377 E-mail: maj4@leicester.ac.uk

web: http://www.le.ac.uk/genetics/maj4/maj4.html

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Last updated: 28 March 2000 16:00
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