Survey suggests aggressive invaders had little genetic effect on native UK populations

So on the genetic purity distinctions (still favoured by some of our politicians) between Planters and Native Irish the news from the science journal Nature is, erm, not so good. [It rarely is! – Ed].

DNA_map2The BBC’s Science Correspondent Pallab Ghosh notes:

According to the data, those of Celtic ancestry in Scotland and Cornwall are more similar to the English than they are to other Celtic groups.

The study also describes distinct genetic differences across the UK, which reflect regional identities.

And it shows that the invading Anglo Saxons did not wipe out the Britons of 1,500 years ago, but mixed with them.

Published in the Journal Nature, the findings emerge from a detailed DNA analysis of 2,000 mostly middle-aged Caucasian people living across the UK.

Not that this will be a surprise. Comfortable old myths can be used to cover a complex human history.

The survey included sample points in Northern Ireland, which ties the population to two distinct groups which connect with western Scotland and the Highlands and the other in southern Scotland and southern England.

Since the Republic was not included in the study it cannot make comparisons across the border, but it does find some micro fine distinctions between old English counties:

There is also a marked division between the people of Cornwall and Devon that almost exactly matches the county border. And the People of Devon are distinct again to those from neighbouring Dorset.

The pattern suggested by the research is not one of annihilation of native population, but rather a gradual assimilation into the base population…

The new analysis shows a modest level of Saxon DNA, suggesting that the native British populations lived alongside each other and intermingled with the Anglo Saxons to become the English.

There is some evidence in the study that intermingling did not happen immediately following the Saxons’ arrival, but occurred at least 100 years later. This suggests that Britons and Saxons had separate communities to begin with, and then over time they began to merge.

The Normans for instance, despite their huge political impact on Britain and Ireland and yet have barely left a genetic trace behind them. Ditto the aggressive Danes in the east of England.

It’s not aggressive invasion that seems to port genetics, but rather the sort of long term settlement and intermarrying in places like Orkney (which according to the survey Norwegian DNA only accounts for 25% of those surveyed).

It would be interesting to see this kind of research intensified and focused on Ireland. NOt least because the data is likely to yield some interesting long scale insights on who (in our most deeply conservative selves) we actually are.

As Stephen Fry has noted

History is not abstraction, it is the enemy of abstraction.

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  • Gingray

    MU
    You have two sixth points. Once you calm down, reread what was previously said and understand that for anyone with half a brain, your mistranslating the name of the party which gets the most votes in Northern Ireland is either petty or stupid. Simples.

    Well as a frequent visitor to ni, can’t say I mind you bringing in tourist money, and I admire your obsession with politics in a place you don’t have a vote. It’s interesting.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Thank you. I’m correcting that numbering.

    And still persisting with the ad hominem stuff. As I say, not only is it usually a sign you’ve run out of ground, but it’s also something you’re not supposed to do on Slugger. I won’t report you this time, but please in future, try and keep it civil and to the point.

    And once again I didn’t mistranslate the name of SF, I just used the phrase “Ourselves Alone.” When I was asked to comment on it, I immediately said it originated from a mistranslation (not by me and one oft repeated, including in the title of a Robert Kee book) of Sinn Fein. So I really don’t see what your actual problem with my comment is …

    If I’d said, “we all know Sinn Fein means ‘ourselves alone'” or something, I’d get your point – but that’s not what I said. What I did do was imply that SF as a party has traditionally believed in the idea of “ourselves alone”. Which is true, surely?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    And by the way, a bit of humility when you’ve been shown to have wrongly insulted someone wouldn’t go amiss. You should really apologise, but even an acknowledgement you were out of order would be a start.

  • Gingray

    Jeepers creepers MU, you won’t report me?!?!? I appreciate your threat, but your bully boy tactics don’t really wash.

    So Sinn Fein as a party traditionally believed in ourselves alone? What the hell does that even mean – there are so many contexts it can be taken in that it becomes pointless to second guess which you are obliquely hinting at.

    If you knew it was an incorrect translation it just makes it even more pathetic that you include it. Remember you stuck it in quotes for a reason, and obscure republicans you just Googled is not it.

    I’d accept your lack of knowledge as down to living in a different country, but you freely admit you happily twist the translation to suit your political agenda, and your threats won’t stop me pointing that out.

  • Joe Walker

    No, I am just pointing out that Bradley was working with a different area of the genome.

  • Joe Walker

    I have no idea since every person I have met with the name Hagan has been Jewish though it does sound kind of Irish since it ends in “gan” like many Irish names.

  • Joe Walker

    But they do show differences in ancestry. In other words, the people in the north are not just one population separated by religion as the media would often have us believe.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You had your chance, but you’ve stuck with ad hominem attacks so I’ve reluctantly flagged, as it’s not my job to police the site – we all need to show responsibility here, or we make it a site people don’t want to use.

    FYI here are the relevant parts of the Slugger comment guidelines:
    “Don’t make personal attacks on other commenters, Slugger’s bloggers or the subjects of posts on the site. By all means challenge the things people say or do, but don’t be personal and keep it civil.
    Play the ball and not the (wo)man. Connect with the subject in hand, and avoid making the person you disagree with the object of your argument.”

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Oh and I don’t live in a different country – check your atlas. I moved from one part of the UK to another part of the UK.

  • Guest

    🙂 Oh no, we shall see how you get with that. It is however a classic bully boy tactic to avoid any admission of being wrong. Mainland Ulsterman, you have been found out, and found wanting.

    I am confident that this exchange will have inspired you to have a firmer grasp of the facts next time you comment on politics in a region you don’t vote in, but I will continue to police you with pleasure and correct any more of your mistakes.

  • Gingray

    🙂 Oh no, we shall see how you get with that. It is however a classic bully boy tactic to avoid any admission of being wrong. Mainland Ulsterman, you have been found out, and found wanting.

    I am confident that this exchange will have inspired you to have a firmer grasp of the facts next time you comment on politics in a region you are unable to vote in, but I will continue to police you with pleasure and correct any more of your mistakes.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    haha! Yeah OK mate 😉

  • Gingray

    Its a legacy of empire, and not just a British thing. To rule a people without treating them as equals you need to have a reason for it, and supposed racial superiority is one way to do it.

    The “lazy irish” was part of this.

    I would agree as well that the belief in racial difference was then picked up and run with by certain sections of republicanism as a means to differentiate two peoples, when the divide was political and cultural.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Easy Ted, the Hagans (“Ó hÁgáin”) were the traditional guardians of Tulach Óg and Chief Brehons to the Cinel Eoghain (“the O’Neill”). Now who your females line added to the mix is another matter……….

  • Gingray

    On the nature of what makes a country we can quibble, and whether the UK is one country or a Union of countries, but have a wee look at what I said.

    You live in a different “region” 🙂

    You do not get to vote in Northern Ireland, nor is it likely you get to vote on Northern Ireland issues if we ever have a referendum on breaking away from the UK.

    Wrong. Again.

  • Gingray

    See, compliance, its a state that suits you.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Our boy Ian was a disciple of Isabel Hill Eldar! You do realise that he traces his Cruthan back to the “Dannites”?

    http://www.british-israel.ca/Dan.htm

    So Am Ghobshmacht’s comment above is most pertinent here!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    There are different “DNA markers” but the whole point of this research is that a broad DNA similarity underlies the lot of us, suggesting a profound continuity of population. The “two tribes” thesis just does not stack up in the light of this.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Slight “differences in ancestry”……

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “it’s”

  • MainlandUlsterman

    really? how?

  • Gingray

    🙂 You goin to run and tell da teacher on me again?

    Look this all stems from you getting one of many things wrong, deliberately misleading people and instead of holding your hand up you resorted to bully boy tactics.

    The thread is about the genetics similarities between people living here and people living where you are. Have you anything worthwhile to add?

    Or will you just continue telling lies?

  • Gingray

    Still hiding from your telling fibs I see 🙂

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You’re really not doing yourself any favours – I’d stop digging if I were you. I’m not going to even ask what ‘fibs’ you’re referring to, as every other time I’ve asked you to back up a personal insult with evidence, you’ve had nothing – and it probably only encourages you. So I’ll just say over and out on this one.

  • Gingray

    Good stuff, and adios until the next time. Its nice to see someone living outside of Northern Ireland spending so much time commenting on our politics here.

    Lets hope you wont be issuing as many threats to anyone who dares to question your mistakes.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It’s pretty eccentric stuff.
    Well-meaning though 🙂

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Isabel Hill Eldar knew my grandfather, who found her an amusing crank. Myself, I’ve met Ian a few times, and actually really like him, but underneath all the foggy eccentricity there is a superior/inferior races issue going on in the sources they drew on. In British Isrealite lore the Protestant British of Ireland were seen as the descendants of the Tribe of Dan, the Dannites and the native “Gael” as inferior gentiles, outside of the law, the natural inferiors to their masters.

    So not entirely “well meaning”, accordingly, at least in its deep roots. Ho hummm…..

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you may well have a point Seann, I don’t know. I have the book but must admit it was all a bit speculative for me. I wouldn’t comment on Ian Adamson who does seem like a decent enough bloke, though I don’t know him, but you’re right about there being a vein of ethnic superiority in some of the Protestant discourse about Planter and Gael.

  • citizen69

    No country is but we’re probably as close to it as you’re likely to get. What is your evidence that difference in these clusters are split down religious lines?

  • Joe Walker

    What other split would these clusters represent? The major division in the north of Ireland is between Irish Catholics and British Protestants.

  • Joe Walker

    A difference is still a difference. The research shows that there has been very little mixing between the indigenous population and the colonial one.

  • Joe Walker

    Using your argument, there is no real difference between a human being and a chimp since both share the vast majority of their DNA. Ignore it if you want to but the the division between Catholics and Protestants in the north of Ireland is as much ethnic as it is religious.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Check out the research, Joe, please. I find that all too many people seem to comment from a previous fixed position on these issues without actually doing this. I’ve been following the development of this examination of DNA markers for about ten years now, and although what we are looking at is a fine tuning of some issues, the broad outline of this work is something that has been well known in some circles for some time. I’ve even commented on it twice, I think, in the last year.

    As someone who can easily trace a mix both “ethnic” identities back to the 1650s in my own carefully preserved family records, it is pretty evident to me that the differences that are so glaring to many of us are entirely learnt differences of acculturation, a choice of the most salient parts of identity by the family you have been born into and not some kind of racial determination. The expressed identities of both portions of our community have undergone such radical variations over the past five hundred years that the kind of hard and enduring identity you seem to envisage is incomprehensible to anyone who has genuinely and dispassionately researched history. And, even regarding the DNA differences, the oddest things come up with individual DNA analysis, and most of us here would discover we are pretty much a mix of what passes for both strains if we spent the two hundred pounds.

    As my wife (an anthropologist) puts it in three words:

    “Place, not race”…….

    And, hey, “ethnic” is an interestingly contradictory word in itself!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Although I find Ian and others interested in all of this perfectly decent people, I’ve been too aware from an early age of the deeper issues in British Israelite theory to ever be comfortable with anything so rooted. It goes a lot further than the relatively negotiable Planter/Gael discourse, in offering biblical authorisation for the superiority issue, a pretty dangerous stamp of authority here, as you know.

    I had a rather “esoteric” relative who was a so-minded keen BI, and read a lot of his books on extended visits to fuel my arguing back. Yet another instance of a youth wasted in damp old country house libraries while others the same age were encountering “Them” in the Ulster Hall…..

  • Joe Walker

    Genetic differences are not “learnt differences of acculturation”. The research shows that Irish Catholics and British Protestants are not just culturally different but biologically different.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Just as you are genetically different to your cousin, within a very close family resemblance which clearly suggests a very small group of common ancestors for most of us!!! I really do wish people would actually read and properly absorb the research before commenting, it would save a lot of archive memory……..

    Most of what we call difference between the two rather artificial sections of our pretty homogenous community is clearly simple acculturation to anyone really looking into it dispassionately.

  • Joe Walker

    Actually you are the one who needs to read and properly absorb the research. If the community in the north of Ireland was as homogenous as you claimed then there would be one genetic grouping instead of two.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Read the actual report (look it up on Google) properly, Joe!! It describse two very, very closely related groups with quite (in the terms of the report) “recent” common ancestory!!! The important thing is that we all share common DNA with ancestors actually living in the islands rather than, say, northern Germany or the Balkans. The issue here is that of a base line of a very long common descent of all of us which makes impossible the old Saxon/Gael fantasy of the Uberman thesis. The differences are cosmetic and superficial.

    Respectfully, don’t just glance at the pretty colours……..

  • Joe Walker

    The fact that there are two groups instead of one means that there are differences in ancestry between the two groups. This is neither cosmetic nor superficial.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The DNA of both groups shows strongly linked common ancestry in what for these things is considered an early period.

    I’m related to quite a few early plantation families (as well as to the O’Neills of the Fews, who burnt out my direct ancestor in 1641!) We are all in DNA terms very closely related, despite having different family descents. The “two groups” you are putting such faith in are simply a longer scale version of this kind of thing, with the seperate family iines developed over a few millenia. That’s the kind of thing you need to take account of in this. Simply put, there are overwhelmingly greater similarities than dissimilarities in our mutual DNA.

    I’m interseted in why it is so important to you to insist on so great a genetic difference in the face of what is quite overwhelming research findings to the contrary. This seems to come from what appears to be a serious misunderstanding of the signigance of the “two colours in the wee six issue”! If you are concerned for the truth of this, I’d recommend that you check out the long years of reserch that lie behind this current work in order to get a clearer all round picture (as I’ve done for a decade now), rather than simply getting rather confused about the significance of the pretty colours.

  • siphonophorest

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  • Joe Walker

    The reason why I am so interested in the differences between the two groups is because those differences are real. You, on the other hand, would rather delude yourself into beleving that the two groups are the same when they are not. I prefer living in the real world while you apparently prefer living in a fantasy one.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh the differences may be “real” perhaps, but only as learnt behaviour and attitudes, acculturation, rather than the expression of any racial difference, something now utterly exploded. This is what the DNA research has clearly shown, and for many of us it brings the pointlessness of the artificial conflict so many people define themselves by into even greater ironic relief. An absorption in genuine fantasy if ever there was one, as some contact with the real world beyond our narrow streets quickly shows!

    A.T.Q. Stewart in his last book “The Shape of Irish History” (Blackstaff, 2001) bemoans that the long history of cultural absorption on these isles that a few decades of DNA research has exposed should be so utterly ignored by this general obsession with a comparatively short history of conflict since the Elizabethan Conquest. But as Yeats says about us all, “More substance in our hates, that in our loves….”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh clearly two highly acculturated portions of the community, I agree, but certainly with some very mixed ancestry. I think Joe’s problem here, (I would really value his detailed correction if I’ve got this wrong) is that he is equating NI/West Scotland glyph with Republicanism and NI.South Scotland/Northumbria glyphs with Unionism. There’s such a fearsome amount of intermarriage since 1610 that any attempt to make any serious race claims on such issues would be very, very unsafe. The old long dead race/culture fantasy of the late Victorian period has a bizarrely strong revenant afterlife amongst certain circles here, and I’d certainly apologise if I have mistaken Joe for someone so minded from his comment above: “Genetic differences are not ‘learnt differences of acculturation’. The research shows that Irish Catholics and British Protestants are not just culturally different but biologically different.” However, what he appears to me to be saying here is that there is meaningful genetic difference!

    Thank you, though I’m unfamiliar with Kimura, I will check his work out.

  • jcbdeet

    I think that you’re getting ahead of yourself in terms of what we know about what these two clusters represent. You also may not be fully aware that the number of clusters in this type of model is arbitrary and chosen by the modeller a priori. In that sense the NUMBER of clusters that appear in Northern Ireland is the one thing in this study that is not “real”. The model can be ramped up such that three, four, five, six, seven or any other number of clusters would appear in Northern Ireland. The modellers could also have halted the model at an earlier stage and left everyone in Northern Ireland to fall within the same cluster. The number of clusters is an input to the model chosen by the modeller, not by the data.

    While I think it likely that there will be a correlation between being a circle and being a Protestant and being a triangle and being a Catholic, it is very unclear at this point how strong that correlation will turn out to be. We have seen someone in Fermanagh with a Northumbrian marker – not really surprising since we know that some planters came from Northumbria. We also know that some planters came from parts of Scotland where the triangle marker appears. It therefore seems reasonable to anticipate that some Northern Ireland Protestants will turn up as triangles.

    The more interesting question is then whether any of the circles will turn out to be Catholics and if so what proportion. We have no direct evidence since seemingly the experimenters did not record religion, or if they did they have not chosen to inform us about this yet. I would say though that the proportion of circles as compared to triangles make it seem that the sample would have to be rather heavily biased towards Protestant subjects, perhaps implausibly so, for absolutely none of those circles to turn out to be Catholics.

    Is it plausible for some Northern Ireland Catholics to be more genetically related to the people of Galloway than they are to the people of Kintyre? I don’t see why that need be a crazy idea. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of those circles turned out to be Catholics.

  • jcbdeet

    To expand. The interpretation that triangle represents a Northern Irish origin as opposed to a pre-Gaelic indigenous western Scottish origin has not even been nailed down. The location suggests that the triangles in Northern Ireland are more likely to be Catholics, but the sample size is tiny and the triangles go up to the north of the Scottish Highlands and I don’t know that the Gaelicisation of the Scottish Highlands was a particularly genocidal affair. The triangle marker could still turn out to be as much a “Highland planter” marker as it is a “native Irish” marker, or even (if less likely) be even more so a “Highland planter” marker than it is a “native Irish” one. We simply don’t have enough information to tell what it represents. We need more information.

    The only firm conclusion we can draw from this study so far is that since the two main clusters in Northern Ireland resulted from the seventeenth splitting in a study with seventeen clusters then Northern Irish Protestants and Northern Irish Catholics are genetically closer to each other than any pair of the seventeen clusters in this study are to each other. Closer to each other than Dorsetians are to Devonians, closer to each other than northern Scottish lowlanders are to southern Scottish lowlanders and so on. An interesting fact that was worth discovering, but anything more than that at this point is speculation.

    The triangles may all be Catholics and the circles all Protestants, but we have no hard and fast information to tell us that it is not the case that both Protestants and Catholics will turn out to be a mixture of triangle and circle. We don’t know.

  • siphonophorest

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  • Joe Walker

    Quote: “Oh the differences may be “real” perhaps, but only as learnt behaviour and attitudes, acculturation”
    Wrong. Genetic research doesn’t uncover any of that stuff. What it uncovers is biological elements – genes – that are passed from ancestor to descendant. The research clearly shows that there are biological differences between the two populations in the north of Ireland.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    How many times! Two very slight differences, which if you read all of this carefully, and all the research that has led up to it, is what is actually being described. Read the long term research, rather than becoming mesmerised by the two colour pattern! Professor Bryan Sykes has written some quite accessible books that will not require you to go and examine journals at the McClay.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Sykes

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Me too, I’d like to see Joe’s sources, and why he is so very assured that we are so utterly different. I have a shelf in my library full of Anthony D. Smith starting with his 1986 “The Ethnic Origins of Nations” that I wish Joe had read before starting to post. He might have been a little leery of arguing against acculturation so strongly if he had!

    As for the rest, I entirely agree! Although you have only to live around Larne to encounter the “degree of fearsomeness” I’ve ascribed to earlier intermarriage! 🙁

  • Joe Walker

    Was Bryan Sykes involved in this particular research project? Also, Sykes books were written years before this current research came out which may mean that they were based on information that is no longer accepted as being accurate. You seem to believe that genetics is a branch of sociology when it is, in fact, a branch of biology. I am not “mesmerised by the two colour pattern”. I simply understand that a difference is a difference and that two does not equal one.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Joe, have you read the current research? The paper has a link above in the article. Difference, a little but very slight…..

    “Sykes books were written years before this current research came out which may mean that they were based on information that is no longer accepted as being accurate.” Essensially, having read the article myself, it seems to simply fine tune Sykes, whom I’d linked as a possible grounding to explain what differences in genetic makeup actually imply and also to save you having to read journal articles at QUB to do this. All research certainly revises previous work, yes, but in this case there is no serious conflict on the degree of difference. If you’d read Sykes you’d have seen this.

    The really interesting question is why it seems so very important for you to attempt ot use the research to claim serious genetic blue water between yourself and your neighbours when that is not what the research is actually stating.

  • jcbdeet

    “Basically Joe is correct to say there are two distinct populations, he’s
    not saying there is any meaningful genetic difference between the two”

    I wouldn’t call them “distinct populations” which implies a lack of current interbreeding, which may not be the case at all. They are two clusters of gene frequencies produced in a model which is designed to divide samples into an arbitrary number of clusters of your choosing.

    Think of it like a model whereby you say what number of mountains you want there to be in the Himalayas and it will tell you which mountain you are standing on for any geographic co-ordinate within the Himalayas. It finds the greatest clusters of difference and assigns each data point to one cluster or another. Just as you can view the Himalayas as just one mountain with many peaks or as a million mountains each with it’s own individual peak so the number of clusters in this type of model is arbitrary and chosen by the observer. Some of the cluster numbers may be more “natural” in that they split clusters with greater FST values. You can judge this using the neighbour joining trees which are the diagrams with the lines in the top right of each page from page 22 onward.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v519/n7543/extref/nature14230-s1.pdf

    That you can generate two clusters in Northern Ireland is not in itself meaningful in the slightest. Since the number of clusters is chosen by the modeller we could generate three clusters and then those who want to jump the gun could say something like “the square is native Irish, the circle is Scottish planter and the triangle is English planter”. The number of clusters is arbitrary.

    We simply don’t know what these two clusters have to do with the social split between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, if anything. Perhaps all the triangles will turn out to be descended from planters of western Scottish origin, or half of them will, or a third of them will. People appear to be assuming that the triangles are all Catholics. It might turn out that they are actually all Protestants. I don’t see that as the most likely possibility, but it is perfectly logically consistent with the facts so far. It doesn’t actually contradict what we know, only our speculation.

    The other assumption is that the circles are all Protestants. That actually doesn’t seem very likely because if it were the case the sample would have to be very biased towards Protestant subjects. In this case it does seem likely that at least some of the circles will be Catholics.

    Most likely what we have here is a classification which correlates with Catholic and Protestant identification. Perhaps whereby 65% of Catholics will show up as a triangle and 35% as a circle while 70% of Protestants will show up as a circle and 30% as a triangle. I think that this will turn out to be what we have here. I don’t think that this method is going to be any kind of reliable genetic test for “community background”.

  • jcbdeet

    “There’s such a fearsome amount of intermarriage since 1610 that any
    attempt to make any serious race claims on such issues would be very,
    very unsafe.”

    It doesn’t even need intermarriage since 1610 for these to be unreliable markers for “community background”. We know from the written records that a proportion of the planters came from areas in Scotland where the green triangle is predominant in the map. That would make it at least somewhat unreliable even if the genetic testing was being done in 1610.

  • siphonophorest

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  • Joe Walker

    The problem is that the genetic research shows that there are real, biological differences between Irish Catholics and British Protestants in the north of Ireland. Just because you want to dismiss or trivialize these differences does not make them any less real.

  • Joe Walker

    If there are no significant genetic differences between the two groups in the north of Ireland why is one group more closely related to western Scots while the other is more closely related to southern Scots?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Between whom, Joee, there are “no significant genetic differences”, if you actually raed the research and the previous research you’d get the nuance of “significant” here. As I’ve explained above, we are all genetic “cousins” in the wee six. You are clearly misunderstanding the actual significance in the research of “why is one group more closely related to western Scots while the other is more closely related to southern Scots”. This is all getting very “The History of the Troubles acotding to my Da” and reading your replies I keep seeing those sash wearing cavemen hunting green sabre tooth tigers………

    This kind of misunderstanding is exactly why speculations on race a hundred years ago, and loose speculation on “genetic difference” today can be so very dangerious when they are selectivly employed to make points about other areas of “difference.”

  • Joe Walker

    We are all cousins of chimpanzees as well but most people would not see the two species as being the same. All humans are related but this does not mean that there are no significant differences between various human populations. If you want to believe that there was some mega orgy in the 17th century where every Catholic in the north of Ireland mated with every Protestant then go ahead. Just because there is no historical basis for your beliefs is no reason to abandon them if they help you sleep at night.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Just go and read the actual research, Joe, and stop making up “conclusions” from a few pretty colours and some rather suspect wishful thinking. I know you want to be so very, very different to the people a few miles of (a different species, now?) and want to find some external justification for this, but that is not even slightly what the research is actually saying!

    And after such a sustained attempt to affirm the indefensible on your part, employing a glance at the map and a half baked reading of the piece, then perhaps the kinship you mention in your first sentence might just be a rather closer relationship than you actually claim…….

  • Joe Walker

    Look it is pretty obvious that you need to believe that the geneticists found no genetic differences between Irish Catholics and British Protestants in the north of Ireland. Go ahead, but don’t expect me to share those beliefs.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As I’ve been saying over any number of posts, Joe, “minimal” not “no”! What are the implications of this anyway? The research shows that the greater number of people across the islands share a common line of ancestry. There is some sight difference between the local variants that have evolved from ths common ancestry, just as there are in families where siblings show differences. If you read the research instead of simply affirming nonsense from a glance at two pretty colours you would discover what the term “difference” as used in the “genetically differentiated subgroups” of the sutdy actually means.

    I repeat for the last time, if you want to understand what this really means, don’t simply read the article above, examine the long term research in which it must be contextualised properly!

  • Joe Walker

    Could you provide me with links to some of this long term research?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I already have, Joe! Sykes, who is professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Wolfson, is the ground breaker in the field. You can access his books reasonably easily, and the bibliographies will offer roads into further research. To try and give you some background as to what the research is actually based on (and actually proves) you could look at this article by Sykes:

    http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD020876.html

    It is an enormous field, and simply an interest on mine, not my main field of study, which is early modern history. If you have access to a university library such as the McClay, I can recommend some possible journals, but I’d start with Sykes and go on from there if you are starting to seriously look at this. Personally, I’d feel that what mitochondrial DNA actually has to tell us about our local population would require the testing a much, much wider local sample group to examine local nuances properly. The research described above is very broad stroke, although I feel it has reviled some very interesting things.

    There are strong acculturated differences in our community, I’d entirely agree on that, and simply because these are “invented” or developed rather than biological differences, they are no less real. But I’m very interested in polyculturalism (as opposed to multiculturalism) myself, the process whereby culture is enriched and renewed by cross fertilisation with other cultural forms. If you can peel off the hard crust of politics here, the commonality of culture in both communities that Estyn Evans so vividly describes in his work is far more interesting I find, and highlights the advantages of co-operation over conflict, something no politician here ever seems to be able to learn.

  • Joe Walker

    So your vast body of research is limited to one guy, Bryan Sykes? Actually, I read two of Sykes’ books several years ago – one on mitochondrial DNA and the other on the Y-Chromosome – but they were both based on older techniques for analyzing DNA and did not use the newer techniques that explored a wider range of the genome as was used in this recent research.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Joe, I answered in good faith only to find you are actually uninterested in the research. I had assumed that you had read nothing by the exagerated importance you were giving very minor differentuation. The newer techniques ypu speak of simply fine tune the older research (and come up with pretty similar conclusions to Sykes, as you’d realise if you were to actually look at the original paper rather than simply the slugger piece and the colours on the map). If you were really familiar with Sykes you would have realised this.

    But the question remains, what do these differences actually say about us? A geneticly inherited impulse to vote DUP or SF from some rogue gene driving us to self destruction? Far more interesting than me listinga lot of journal articles for someone simply attempting to score points, perhaps we could have a real discussion as to what these “genetic differences” really mean for us all!

  • Joe Walker

    Sykes only deals with the Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA which only make up a small part of the genome and can give misleading informaion. The current research uses more genetic material to reach their conclusions. For example, in one of his books, Sykes labels the Y-chromosome genetic marker R1b as “Oisin” since it is common in the Irish and other Celtic populations. This gives the misleading impression that all men with the R1b marker have Celtic ancestry which is not true. In fact, R1b is quite common in much of western Europe and is even found amongst the Basques.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    JCBDeet
    Excellent summary.
    When you speak of ‘Highand Planters’ would that include Gallowglass too? They must have had some impact?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Still means we have the same DNA configuration, simply with a lot more people have it rather than less! The “Celtic catch all’ for anyone sane is very much a cultural language thing, rather than a race thing, and its a very powerful cultural identity at that at that!

    The real issue remains how do you envisage the importance and effect of this difference you insist on. With noting that the “Oisin marker” actually covers even more people across Europe you appear to have started arguing my case for much broader root kinship on my behalf!

    By the way, all earlier research gives “misleading information” when it is compared to later research which has brought more information and more detail into play. I’d mentioned Sykes as a “starter pack” as you so obviously had not grasped what genetic “differences” such work is actually referring to. I’m glad you have started reading it now, but you have obviously still not grasped just how much of the newer research is reiterating much of Sykes earlier work. Perhaps if you compared the actual article on “Nature” to what you are now reading…….

  • Joe Walker

    As I said previously you are free to believe what you want. If you want to believe that the genetic research backs up your position then go ahead.