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Wales launches DNA ancestry project

6 October 2014
Appeared in BioNews 774

A project to investigate the genetic history of the Welsh, which will also give participants information about their own DNA make-up, is now underway.

'CymruDNAWales' is expected to last two to three years. It is described as a 'multi-media collaboration' between S4C, the Western Mail, the Daily Post, Green Bay Media and the research company ScotlandsDNA.

People who live in Wales, consider themselves Welsh, or have Welsh ancestry, are invited to take part. They will provide a spit sample which will be submitted to DNA analysis and receive results about the markers and mutations found in their DNA which are prevalent in certain ethnic groups.

CymruDNAWales' company website advertises 'brochures featuring separate ancestral narratives for the motherline and fatherline, as well as certificates and printed [test] results'. Each 'Spit Kit' costs between £170 and £200.

The organisers say that the results will also be used as part of a genetic survey tracing the history of the Welsh people 'from the prehistoric pioneers who first saw the valleys and mountains emerge from the last ice age 11,000 years ago to more modern arrivals'.

The survey hopes to help answer questions as to where the first immigrants to Wales originated from, how great the influence of Roman or Viking intruders was, and whether the bloodlines of Welsh kings from the Dark Ages could be followed to the present day.

Ian Jones, chief executive of S4C, a Welsh-language broadcaster, said the project 'will literally rewrite the history of Wales and the British Isles'.

According to the Daily Post, another partner organisation, the forerunning ScotlandsDNA project unearthed some 'surprising results, like the revelation that more than one percent of all inhabitants there were directly descended from Saharan tribesmen'.

Alistair Moffat, managing director of both ScotlandsDNA and CymruDNAWales, said: 'Wales has been very under-studied and by launching CymruDNAWales, we hope to write a new history of Wales, one that is inclusive, dynamic and different. The history of the Welsh can be found inside them - in their DNA'.

Cymru DNA Wales project set to rewrite Welsh history
S4C |  24 September 2014
DNA test will find people's history of Wales
Wales Online |  24 September 2014
New DNA project could give insight into history of Wales
BBC News |  24 September 2014
Who are the Welsh? Mass genetic testing to find out nation's ancestry
Daily Post |  24 September 2014
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