Scottish Genetic Landscape Echoes the DNA of Past Kingdoms

Generation Scotland volunteer data has helped discover that the genetics of people across Scotland today still has similarities to distant ancestors.

Map of Scottish Genetics


Researchers used genetic data from health research studies across Britain and Ireland and compared this against ancient DNA. Many of the genetic patterns found were similar to the genes found in Gaels, Picts, Britons and the Norse.


The extent of Norse Viking ancestry was measured across the North of Britain. The genetic diversity of these regions will allow a better understanding of Viking movements and the founding of Iceland. This is the first time the genetic map of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland can be seen in its entirety, researchers say.


It was shown that data may be required from people living in more rural areas to make new medical research discoveries in British and Irish populations. This is particularly important as rarer genetic changes become a key focus of genetic research, as they often have a larger impact on health.


Information from 2,500 Scots were pulled together from various studies to make the map. The single largest group was from Generation Scotland members, 551 in all. Thanks to all of you, we now have a much better view of our ancient origins.

It has been a delight to work with Jim Wilson, Ed Gilbert and their team. The map they have constructed is fascinating, adding a striking scientific insight into our written and oral history.

Professor David Porteous
Lead Investigator, Generation Scotland

The team of researchers, led by Prof Jim Wilson, have had the paper, called “The Genetic Landscape of Scotland and the Isles”, published in the scientific journal 'PNAS.'  You can find this article below:

The Genetic Landscape of Scotland and the Isles


The BBC has also covered this exciting new finding and you can read their article here:

Scotland's genetic landscape reflects Dark Age populations