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Mitochondrial DNA variation in the Viking age population of Norway
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Molecular Evolution.
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2015 (English)In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8436, E-ISSN 1471-2970, Vol. 370, no 1660, 20130384- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The medieval Norsemen or Vikings had an important biological and cultural impact on many parts of Europe through raids, colonization and trade, from about AD 793 to 1066. To help understand the genetic affinities of the ancient Norsemen, and their genetic contribution to the gene pool of other Europeans, we analysed DNA markers in Late Iron Age skeletal remains from Norway. DNA was extracted from 80 individuals, and mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms were detected by next-generation sequencing. The sequences of 45 ancient Norwegians were verified as genuine through the identification of damage patterns characteristic of ancient DNA. The ancient Norwegians were genetically similar to previously analysed ancient Icelanders, and to present-day Shetland and Orkney Islanders, Norwegians, Swedes, Scots, English, German and French. The Viking Age population had higher frequencies of K*, U*, V* and I* haplogroups than their modern counterparts, but a lower proportion of T* and H* haplogroups. Three individuals carried haplotypes that are rare in Norway today (U5b1b1, Hg A* and an uncommon variant of H*). Our combined analyses indicate that Norse women were important agents in the overseas expansion and settlement of the Vikings, and that women from the Orkneys and Western Isles contributed to the colonization of Iceland.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 370, no 1660, 20130384- p.
Keyword [en]
ancient DNA, Vikings, Norway, human mitochondrial DNA, Scandinavia
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-241384DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0384ISI: 000346147700012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-241384DiVA: diva2:783536
Available from: 2015-01-26 Created: 2015-01-12 Last updated: 2015-01-26Bibliographically approved

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Ólason, Páll Isolfur
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Molecular Evolution
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