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Irish Travellers: Wanderers not genetically connected to ‘gypsies’, may provide clues to understanding genetic diseases

| | February 15, 2017
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

IRISH TRAVELLERS HAVE no connection to Roma gypsies, did not descend from the famine and are genetically as different to Irish settled people as the Spanish.

That’s according to a new study led by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) and the University of Edinburgh.

It confirmed that Travellers are very much of Irish ancestral origin and, for the first time, gave an estimate of when Travellers split from the ‘settled’ population in Ireland.04

There’s a common misconception that Travellers split from settled people at the time of the Great Famine (1845-1852). However, the researchers estimate that the separation began far before that, around 360 years ago in the mid 1600’s.

[A]lthough Irish Travellers come from an Irish ancestry, they are genetically distinct from the settled Irish.

[According to Associate Professor in Human Genetics at RCSI Gianpiero Cavalleri], “All the data point to the Irish Travellers being a genetic isolate who could potentially be valuable for understanding the genetic risk factors for disease in Ireland – both among Travellers and settled people.”

[The study can be found here.]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Study on ancestry of Irish Travellers details genetic connection to settled community

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