How British are YOU? Genetic study reveals Yorkshire is most Anglo-Saxon part of UK, while East Midlands is most Scandinavian
- Family history website Ancestry studied the DNA of two million people using a home-based saliva test
- The average Brit is 37 per cent Anglo-Saxon with the remainder of genes coming from European ancestors
- The British also owe a fifth of their genome to the Germans and French, and 9.2 per cent to Scandanavians
- English people have significantly less Irish ancestry on average compared to people living in Scotland
Published: 00:01 BST, 28 July 2016 | Updated: 15:31 BST, 28 July 2016
The average Briton is only really 37 per cent British – with the remainder of their genes coming from European ancestors from as far afield as Scandinavia, Spain and Greece.
DNA testing has also revealed how the people of Yorkshire are officially the most British people in the land, with their genetic makeup containing an average 41 per cent Anglo-Saxon stock.
London, meanwhile, is the most ethnically diverse, while the people of Wales have the highest proportion of ancestry from Spain and Portugal.
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The Ancestry study found stark differences in the genetic make-up of people living in the UK. For example, English people have significantly less Irish ancestry – just 20 per cent of their genetic make-up – on average compared to people living in Scotland (43.84 per cent), Wales (31.99 per cent) and Northern Ireland (48.49 per cent).
The average Brit owes just 37 per cent of their heritage to the Anglo-Saxons while German and French heritage accounts for a fifth of their genes
The analysis of the genetic history of two million people worldwide by family history website Ancestry was based on data collated from the AncestryDNA home DNA test that examines a person’s entire genome via a simple saliva sample.
Results reveal the genetic ethnic make-up of the ‘average’ person in the UK and what countries and regions they can trace their ancestry back to over the past 500 years.
They found that the average UK resident is 36.94 per cent British, or Anglo-Saxon, 21.59 per cent Irish (Celtic) and 19.91 per cent Western European – the region covered today by France and Germany.
The next three regional ethnicities in the average UK resident are Scandinavia, which accounted for 9.20 per cent of the genetic heritage, the Iberian Peninsula, with 3.05 per cent of their gene coming from Spain or Portugal, and Italy and Greece, which accounted for 1.98 per cent of their DNA.
Breakdowns of the data also reveal differences between residents of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and even within English regions.
English people have significantly less Irish ancestry – just 20 per cent of their genetic make-up – on average compared to people living in Scotland (43.84 per cent), Wales (31.99 per cent) and Northern Ireland (48.49 per cent).
But residents of England do have the highest amount of Scandinavian (9.39 percent) and French/German ancestry (20.45 percent).
People living in Scotland have the highest amount of Finnish/Northwest Russian heritage (1.31 percent), which is perhaps explained by their geographic proximity.
Welsh residents have the highest proportion of ancestry from the Iberian Peninsula (three percent).
Within England, London is the most ethnically diverse region, having the highest amount of heritage from 17 of the 26 regions analysed.
Yorkshire was found to have the highest percentage of Anglo-Saxon ancestry (41.17 per cent), while the East Midlands has the most Scandinavian ancestry (10.37 per cent) as well as the most Eastern European (2.47 per cent).
The East of England has the most Italian/Greek (2.53 per cent) and French/German ancestry (22.52 per cent), as well as the highest amount from the Iberian Peninsula (3.43 per cent).
THE WEST COUNTRY NEIGHBOURS WHO HAVE REMAINED RIVALS
They may be neighbours but they have never been close. Now, genetics could explain why.
A genetic map of the British Isles published last year revealed that the inhabitants of Cornwall and Devon are two distinct groups.
And, remarkably, the divide in their DNA is an almost exact match for the modern geographical boundary between the two countries.
In other words, people with Cornish genes tend to live on one side of the river Tamar, while those with Devon DNA are on the other.
Dr Magdalena Skipper, of the journal Nature, described the match as ‘truly stunning’.
Oxford University researcher Sir Walter Bodmer said: ‘It’s an extraordinary result.’
The study also showed that the Cornish have fewer genes in common with the rest of the UK than the people of Devon.
Sir Walter said this can likely be explained by the Anglo-Saxons taking longer to reach Cornwall – and so contributing less DNA to the gene pool there than in Devon.
He added that there would also have been political and cultural barriers ‘not to cross into Devon’
He said: ‘People from Cornwall wanted to keep to themselves more.’