independent

Monday 18 December 2017

Are your veins coursing with Viking blood?

Researchers want men with certain surnames to come forward to be tested.
Researchers want men with certain surnames to come forward to be tested.

DO YOU have Viking blood in you? Wexford men will have a chance to find out when a team of geneticists, historians, bone specialists and archaeologists visits the town to study the origins of medieval families.

They will determine whether or not the men are descended from the Vikings, either directly or through Norman blood.

The extraordinary initiative has been arranged Mayor of Wexford, Cllr. Jim Allen.

The researchers, led by Dr. Catherine Swift of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and Dr. Turi King of the Department of Genetics in the University of Leicester, will be in the Westgate Heritage Centre this Saturday, October 20 at 8 p.m.

They are inviting male volunteers with specific surnames under investigation to go for testing at the Centre. The surnames that have been identified in medieval records with the help of Dr. Conchobhar O Curalaoich of the Placenames Branch in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht are Allen, Bardon, Barnes, Barron, Bolger, Boggan, Bowe, Blake, Brazil, Breen, Brennan, Browne, Brian, Busher, Butler, Canavan, Cleary, Codd, Cogley, Connick, Conway, Cousins, Cullen, D'ARcy, Duggan, Doran, Doyle, Edwards, Fardy, Farrell, Fisher, Fitzharris, Harris, Foley, Fortune, Furlong, Harpur, Harvey, Hayes, Hore, Howlin, John, Jordan, Kavanagh, Kelly, Kenny, Kennedy, Lacy, Lambert, larkin, Lewis, Loughlin, Mernagh, Morris, Murphy, Owens, O' Brien, O'Connor, Pettitt, Pierce, Redmond, Rackard, Roche, Rowe, Ronan, Rossiter, Scallan, Scurlock, Siggins, Shiggins, Shannon, Shortall, Somers, Stephens, Sutton, Turner, Wadding, Waddock, Welsh, Walsh, Whelan and Whitty.

Using modern scientific techniques, the researchers are hoping to identify what percentage of the population is descended from Vikings and the extent to which Vikings intermarried with the native Irish.

They are primarily interested in Y chromosomes and will only collect samples from men.

The test will involve taking a swab of cheek cells from which DNA will be prepared. The information gleaned will be strictly confidential and an assurance is given that if is ever published in scientific papers, it will be completely anonymous.

No tests of any medical relevance will be carried out. At the end of the study, which is being replicated in Limerick and Galway, the results of all individual Y chromosome tests will be given to the donors and the findings published on a website.

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