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Irish DNA Atlas Project

From ISOGG Wiki

The Irish DNA Atlas Project is a genetic genealogy and health research project. The project was launched at the Back To Our Past Show show in Dublin, Ireland, in October 2011 and is an ongoing collaboration between the Genealogical Society of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

The project has two main aims:

"(1) to further our knowledge of the population history of Ireland and its connections with other populations in Europe and (2) to help us understand how genes influence health in Ireland through the creation of a resource for use as ‘healthy’ controls in researching how genes influence common diseases in Ireland, including (though, not confined to) diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Through the collection and scientific analysis of this type of data it may be possible to identify genetic risk factors for disease and with this information, improve the nature of future treatments, including drug design or indeed lifestyle decisions on how to prevent the development of disease in the first place."[1]

The project will serve as a comparison with the People of the British Isles Project and other similar projects in Europe, and will help to provide insight into the historical migrations to and from Ireland.

The collection of the genealogical data is being co-ordinated by Séamus O’Reilly, Director of Archival Services at the Genealogical Society of Ireland. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri of the Royal College of Surgeons is leading the scientific research. The historian Dr Darren McGettigan was appointed as the Historical Director of the Project in August 2013.

The genetic analysis will consider genetic variation across all of our chromosomes, although the researchers also intend to study specific lineages as described by the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA.

In August 2014 the project received funding support from Science Foundation Ireland, the national foundation for investment in scientific and engineering research. This support will allow the project to begin the genetic analysis of the samples recruited to date.[2]

As of November 2014 140 participants had been recruited. Although coverage of Ireland was good, the researchers were still hoping to find more people with "ancestry from the Midlands, South Midlands, West Galway and Mayo, North East and an area comprising Limerick, North Cork, South Tipperary and Waterford". [2]

Project participation

Participants can be male or female. Participants are required to have all eight great-grandparents born within the same general area of Ireland so that their DNA represents that particular region of Ireland. The eight great-grandparents should all have been born within 30 kilometres of each other, though the figure is somewhat arbitrary and the researchers are allowing some flexibility. Participants can opt to take part in either the historical or medical components of the study or both and supply information accordingly. The researchers are unable to return individual results to participants and the data will not be made publicly available. Anyone wishing to participate in the project should contact Seamus O’Reilly at


External links

See also