Finland’s recent history is inscribed in our genomes

A recent study has grouped Finns into genetic categories with unprecedented precision. These genetic categories are strikingly similar to Finnish dialect areas. In addition, the study corroborates the previously reported genetic division into eastern and western Finland and indicates that this division runs along the border established by the Treaty of Nöteborg in 1323.

The international research group, led by University of Helsinki researchers, has produced more detailed information about the genetic variation within Finland than has been previously available.

The results were published 5.10.2017 in the G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics journal. The researchers have also opened a website for the project, where anyone can access the results using interactive maps.

The study used modern methods from genome research and statistics, grouping more than 1,000 DNA samples from all over Finland into genetically similar groups, gradually increasing the specificity. This grouping employed existing information on more than 230,000 genetic markers.

Detailed understanding of the fine-scale genetic population structure is also important for medical research so that individuals with an illness can be compared to healthy individuals with the exact same genetic background.

Read the whole press release from the University of Helsinki website