One of the biggest surprises in the well-known ScotlandsDNA project is the fact that 10 per cent of Scottish men are directly descended from the Picts.
The fate of the tribe of fierce and enigmatic people who fought with Rome’s legions has been historically surrounded in mystery and they were assumed to have simply disappeared. Because of ScotlandsDNA project’s discovery, this version of history has been updated and it’s now believed they were outrun by political events and became assimilated by incoming Scots invasions from Ireland
The Picts were actually a confederation of tribes (like the modern clan system) who lived north of Scotland’s Forth and Clyde region, beyond the reach of the Roman Empire. They constituted the largest kingdom in Dark Age Scotland and successfully kept both Romans and Angles at bay. They were a dominant force in what is now Scotland for about 600 years.
The recently discovered DNA marker R1b-S530 suggests that 10 per cent of Scottish men are direct descendents of the people known as “Picti” (painted ones) by the Romans.
After testing this new Y-DNA marker R1b-S530 in more than 3,000 British and Irish men, Dr Jim Wilson, chief scientist at ScotlandsDNA project discovered it is ten times more common in those with Scottish grandfathers than those with English grandfathers.
“While ten per cent of more than 1,000 Scottish men tested carry R1b-S530, only 0.8 per cent of Englishmen have it.
About 3 per cent of men in Northern Ireland carry the lineage, but it was only seen once in more than 200 men from the Republic of Ireland.
It is believed the presence in Northern Ireland is due to the plantations of Lowland Scots in the 16th and 17th centuries. This is a pattern usually seen with markers that appear to be restricted to Scotland.”
Dr Wilson, is also a senior lecturer in population and disease genetics commented to the Scotsman newspaper that R1b-S530 is a very Scottish DNA marker and there is a huge difference between the Scots and the English. He considers this is a clear sign that while people do move around, a core group has remained at home in Scotland.