Scottish people’s DNA study could ‘rewrite nation’s history’

A large scale study of Scottish people’s DNA is threatening to “rewrite the nation’s history”, according to author Alistair Moffat.

Scotland, he told the Edinburgh international book festival, despite a long-held belief that its ethnic make-up was largely Scots, Celtic, Viking and Irish, was in fact “one of the most diverse nations on earth”.

“The explanation is simple. We are a people on the edge of beyond; on the end of a massive continent. Peoples were migrating northwest; and they couldn’t get any further. We have collected them.”

He and his colleagues have found West African, Arabian, south-east Asian and Siberian ancestry in Scotland. “The West African ancestry mostly originates in the 18th century, so it is almost certainly to do with the slave trade,” he said.

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