genetics differs from that of your neighbour and this means you may
differ in your risk of getting particular diseases. These genetic
differences, known as genetic variation, contribute to inherited
differences in susceptibility to many common diseases, such as cancer
and heart disease. This can be investigated by comparing genetic
differences between individuals with a specific disease to those
without the disease.
in order to work out
which genetic differences between people with and without a disease are
potentially contributing to the disease, researchers need to know about
the variation that is due to differing history and geography. This is
the underlying pattern of genetic variation across the country. When
this pattern is taken into account, any remaining differences may be
important in understanding the genetics involved in the disease and can
be looked into more closely.
determine the genetic patterns across the British Isles, we will use
genetic “markers” to
look at every individual sample. One might expect, for example, to find
fewer genetic differences between people inCornwall
and Devon than Cornwall and the Shetlands because, historically, there
has been less movement between the more distant counties.
these genetic patterns have been identified, it should also be possible
to use them to investigate historical patterns of movement within the
UK. As well as this, comparison
of these patterns with results from other populations that surround the
UK, such as the Scandanavians, French and Germans, should help us to understand
the impact they have had on the British over the Centuries.
Further work with these samples
will allow other researchers to search for genes involved with common
diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Our own work will allow us
to investigate the genetics behind particular facial features and other
normal traits such as skin, hair and eye color, as well as some taste