Wednesday, December 30, 2015

First Ancient Irish Genomes Sequenced

A number of media outlets are reporting on the sequencing of a trio of ancient Irish genomes sequenced by geneticists at Trinity University of Dublin.  These three genomes belonged to a 5,200 year old female farmer from Belfast, and two 4,000 year old men from Rathlin Island off the coast of County Antrim.  Most notable to me was the fact that both men were of the R1b-M269 YDNA haplogroup that predominates in men of Irish heritage to this day.

This same lab previously identified the "Niall of the Nine Hostages" YDNA marker sequence that suggests a common paternal origin for many Irish men, particularly in Northern Ireland. I hope they publish a follow up with these new ancient samples to tell us if the Niall fingerprint actually predates that medieval king.  I also hope the full genomes are published and made available for comparison on either or via the tools at

Scientists Sequence First Ancient Irish Human Genome

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