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DNA Blueprint of the Irish Revealed

‘YOU WON’T find a gene that makes the Irish fond of drink, any more than you’ll find a gene that makes the Irish especially prone to buying property at grossly over-inflated prices.”

That is the sage scientific advice of Professor Brendan Loftus, head of the UCD research team which this week revealed it has mapped the complete genetic code of an Irish person for the first time.

The entire DNA blueprint for a human being was first published in 2003 in the US, but there are six billion people on earth paddling about in many localised gene pools and the island of Ireland is a locality with its own unique genetic scenery. The UCD team has, quite literally, put us on the world map.

Major genetic surveys of Ireland and Britain have established that the gene pool of both islands is amongst the least diluted in Europe. The genetic evidence shows that three quarters of the ancestors of the Irish and British people were the pioneering settlers who arrived at the end of the last ice age between 17,000 and 8,000 years ago. The inescapable upshot of this is that the Irish are not Celts, any more than the English are Anglo-Saxons.

In fact, both the Irish and the British are Basques, with the Irish significantly more Basque than our neighbours across the pond, who’ve absorbed more migrations from Europe over the centuries.

Scientists estimate that Ireland’s gene pool has changed remarkably little since the first hunter-gatherers from Iberia followed the retreating ice cap, beachcombing northwards and settling this newly exposed and empty land. The dilution rate for Ireland is estimated at a tiny 12%, against 20% for Wales and Cornwall, 30% for Scotland and 33% for England.

Read the full article at The Irish Independent

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