Genetic Study Shows Deep Norwegian Lineage in People of Northern Scotland

I doubt if this will surprise anyone from northern Scotland as the history of what is now Scotland and Norway has been linked together for centuries. However, a new DNA study confirms what many people have long suspected.

A team of researchers from Scotland and the U.K. has found via genetic study that many people in modern Scotland are of Norwegian descent. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study and what they found.

As the researchers note, many genetic studies have been conducted with people living in England, Wales and Ireland—but little has been done with people living in Scotland. To remedy the situation, the researchers gathered and analyzed genomic data from 2,544 people from across Britain, Ireland and many of the islands that surround them. The team focused most specifically on people in Scotland who lived within 50 miles of their parents.

You can read more in an article by Bob Yirka in the Medical Xpress web site at:

One Comment

“The researchers report that they found genetically diverse clusters of people around Scotland: the southwest, the Hebrides, Shetland, the northeast, Orkney and the Borders. They also found invaders and settlers from Europe, particularly those from the north, had a profound impact on some parts of Scotland—in the most northern clusters, up to 23 percent of the people had Norse ancestry. The researchers found that most of the Norse ancestry came from people who had lived in Sogn og Fjordane, Hordaland and a few other parts of western Norway—areas that prior research has shown were where marauding Vikings had been based.”

Interesting paragraph and it’s nice to see definite locations in Norway mentioned, but I don’t know that I’d say “marauding Vikings.” If some Vikings were “based” in Scotland, that signifies “permanent settlement” rather than briefly staying and leaving. While the scenery in the fjords of Sogn og Fjordane and Hordaland is dramatically beautiful, there aren’t many places that can sustain a large population. Only ten percent of the entire country of Norway has arable land; the rest is uninhabitable mountains. It’s easy to overpopulate little areas of land in the fjords that can support only small populations – aided by fishing for food – and some of those bits of land were settled before the age of the Vikings. Some of those Vikings who settled in Scotland (and Ireland, Normandy, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland) were younger sons looking for places where they could settle with farm lands enough that they could raise enough food to sustain a family since the eldest son would have inherited from the father. Not all Vikings were berserkers.


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