Research objectives and content
This project will examine the molecular genetic structure of selected peripheral populations of north western Europe, with the objective of identifying the genetic consequences of the Norse expansion over a thousand years ago. The primary aim will be to assess the relative contribution of ancestral Celtic and Norse populations to the contemporary gene pools of Iceland and the Outer Hebrides, and will investigate whether admixture or genetic drift played a more important role in shaping these gene pools. The study will also shed light on the genetic configuration of both the Celtic peoples that settled in the British Isles about three thousand years ago, and the Viking populations that inhabited the western and southern coasts of Norway during the Middle Ages. These aims will be carried out by a detailed analysis of mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosome polymorphisms, and high resolution autosomal haplotypes in samples from populations living in Norway, mainland Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and Outer Hebrides Islands.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
Training in molecular DNA techniques that are essential in the study of human population genetics these include up-to-date DNA sequencing techniques including use of one automated sequencing machine, generation of microsatellite data that will involve multiplexed PCR and automated fragment analysis, detection of single site polymorphisms, and haplotype assignment. In Addition, considerable experience will be gained in the application of statistical methods to analyse sequence data and in the analysis of genetic diversity within and among populations, as well as testing hypotheses in human population genetics and human evolution.