The testimony of genetics

When people move they take their genes with them and pass them on to their descendants in the new homeland. Therefore, every population group preserves traces of their old roots. Common origin can be confirmed, and migrations in the past can be traced by comparison of DNA-sequences from present generations. In particular mutations of the Y-chromosome and mitochondriac DNA indicate when the ways of our ancestors parted and when they met.

Statistic analyses of genetic variation in Europe point to various components:

  • one indicates the advance of neolithic farmers from the Middle East to Greece, Italy and Spain and further to the later Germanic-speaking areas of North West of Germany, England and Scandinavia
  • a second marks the Saami in Northern Scandinavia and other Uralic-speaking peoples in Finland and Northern Russia (the first to domesticate the horse)
  • a third marks migrations of early pastoral nomads from the Southern steppes around the Volga and Don
  • a fourth marks the Celtic populations of England, Ireland and Brittany
  • a fifth is represented by the Basques, reflecting historical, geographic and linguistic isolation

Scholar in charge

Clinical associate professor Peter K.A. Jensen