Genome Sequencing of Ireland’s Earliest Settlers

Genome Sequencing of Ireland’s Earliest Settlers

A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast has done remarkable job by sequencing some of the oldest genomes from ancient humans in Ireland. They have sequenced the genome of an early farmer woman that was 5200 years old along with the genomes of three men who lived 4000 years ago. The latest study in genetics, that has been published in international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, has thrown light on the mystery regarding the genes of the ancient people from Ireland. The genome sequencing of the earliest settlers of Ireland shed light on the genesis of Celtic populations.

With the help of the technique called whole-genome analysis, scientists at Trinity College Dublin have found that the lady was having black hair and brown eyes. The study reveals that the Iris people got their pale skin and piercing blue eyes only in the Bronze Age. Prior to Bronze Age, the Iris looked like people from the Middle-East or southern Europe, with black hair and dark eyes. Scientists said the genome sequencing of ancient people could help understand the history of Ireland. They analyzed the genomic structure to understand whether technological achievements like agriculture, use of stone and metal tools were local innovation or came through external migrations. They found that the technological changes came to Ireland through migrations. The farmer woman's genome pointed to a Middle-Eastern ancestry. Agricultural was invented in the Middle-East.

Currently, Ireland has the world's highest frequencies of genetic variants that code for lactase persistence. Dr Eileen Murphy, Senior Lecturer in Osteoarchaeology at Queen's University Belfast, said the findings helped scientists to gain insight into the hidden facts regarding the origins of the Irish. Lara Cassidy, PhD Researcher in Genetics at Trinity, said there existed strong genetic affinity between the Bronze Age genomes and modern Irish, Scottish and Welsh. Dan Bradley, from Trinity College Dublin, said the Middle-Eastern people had physically moved with farming to the British Isles.

DailyMail reported that, The set of traits that make Celtic people so distinct may have been established 4,000 years ago, due to an influx of people from the Black Sea and the Middle East. Analysis of four ancient genomes from Ireland has uncovered their ancestry is the result of a 'genetic shift', caused by an increase in farming and metal work in the region.

In particular, the researchers said that the adoption of agriculture led to 'waves of immigration' in Ireland which ultimately shifted their genetics.

TheGuardian report said, But the latest study throws more light on the birth of a nation. All three dead men from Rathlin Island carried what is now the most common type of Irish Y chromosome, inherited only from male forebears.

"It is clear that this project has demonstrated what a powerful tool ancient DNA analysis can provide in answering questions which have long perplexed academics regarding the origins of the Irish," said Eileen Murphy, who lectures in osteoarchaeology at Queen's in Belfast.

Researchers sequenced genomes of a Neolithic woman farmer who lived near Belfast 5,200 years ago, and three men from the Bronze Age about 4,000 years ago. Sequencing genomes of ancient people could help researchers understand the history of Ireland. Scientists are keen to figure out whether technological achievements such as agriculture, use of stone and metal tools were local innovation or came through external migrations., according to the ValueWalk.

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