Friday, March 20, 2015

A Fine-Scale, Historically Awesome, Genetic Map of the U.K.

A new genetic map of the U.K., which is the product of several-years-long collaboration between geneticists, historians, and others. This looks really neat, and I recommend looking at the map at the other end of the link.

The first line of the news article articulates how cool this is: A remarkable new map of Britain shows how the nation was forged by successive waves of immigration from continental Europe over 10,000 years since the end of the last Ice Age.

Again quoting the article: Geneticists and historians collaborated closely on the 10-years project and have been astonished to find that patterns in the DNA of Britons living today reflect historical events going back centuries, and in some cases millennia. Take a look in the news article for some specific examples.

I am sure that there is a ton more than one can do with the data---and of course, I wonder how much one can improve on the analysis (and, without having looked with seriousness at the Nature article, naturally I have no scientific opinion on its correctness). Many of the coauthors are my colleagues at Oxford, so maybe I will eventually have a chance to play with the data? :)

Update: Taking a quick look at the paper, one could certainly try to use more sophisticated clustering methods. Whether that would have any effect on the qualitative conclusions remains to be seen.

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