DNA project looks for Derry participants

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Researchers have launched a nationwide appeal for Irish people with four locally-born grandparents to take part in a new DNA project to help map the genetic history of Ireland.

The Irish DNA Research Project, led by British ancestry firm Living DNA, is appealing for individuals with four Irish grandparents all born within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of each other to join this pioneering project by taking a simple DNA test.

By focusing on people whose grandparents were all born in close proximity, the team aim to build up the most detailed and accurate regional map of Ireland’s genetic history – prior to the mass migrations of the 20th Century.

In particular, the team is keen to find qualifying people from the following 13 regions of Ireland, which preliminary research shows may have distinct genetic differences: Northern Ui Neil, Ulster, Oriel, Breifne, Northern Connacht, South Uni Neil, Dublin, Kildare, Southern Connacht, Thormond, Leinster, Ormond and Desmond.

To encourage suitable people to come forward, the first 10 qualifying individuals from each of these regions to register will receive a free ancestry DNA test and lifetime membership to Living DNA – worth €159. Any subsequent qualifying participants will be able to claim a 30% discount off the test and lifetime membership.

Qualifying people who have already had their DNA tested can transfer their results to the project free of charge and receive a complimentary lifetime membership to Living DNA.

David Nicholson, managing director of Living DNA comments: “Our DNA can tell us extraordinary things about our origins and family histories, all from a simple cheek swab. Already at Living DNA, we can break down people’s ancestry from the British Isles to 21 regions, including Ireland. Using data gathered in this project, we will take things a whole step further for those with Irish ancestry – enabling anyone to pinpoint exactly where their ancestors came from within Ireland.”

Under the leadership of Living DNA, the Irish DNA Research Project team includes a number of academics involved in the landmark 2015 genetic study of the People of the British Isles - the first study to map the genetic history of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2015. Two leading Irish genealogists – Gerard Corcoran and Dr Maurice Gleeson – are also closely involved in the project to ensure it is as academically robust as possible.

David Nicholson concludes:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the Irish public to be part of an evolving science project to give everyone in the country a better chance to find out more about where they really come from.”

Living DNA will be on hand to discuss the Irish DNA Research Project at consumer genealogy event Back to Our Past at RDS, Dublin from 21-23rd October 2016 (Stand B52).

To find out more about the project, visit: https://www.livingdna.com/irishdna