Scientists Tracked Fine-Scale Genetic Structure of Finland

Researchers from the University of Finland announced that they have used genetics data to track how genetics in Finland have changed within seven decades. This allowed the scientists to follow changes brought about by World War II. Their work can lead to better methods of tracking individuals’ genetic history.

Researchers from the University of Finland examined the genetic samples of 18,463 Finnish people from 12 geographical regions of the country and marked the changes that occurred between 1923 and 1987. On March 4, 2021, their findings were published in a study in PLOS Genetics.

Here is the Author Summary from the study:

“We have inherited our genomes from our parents, who, in turn, inherited their genomes from their parents, etc. Hence, a comparison between genomes of present day individuals reveals genetic population structure due to varying levels of genetic relatedness among the individuals. We have utilized over 18,000 Finnish samples to characterize the fine-scale genetic population structure in Finland starting from a binary East-West division and ending up with 10 Finish source populations.

“Furthermore, we have applied the resulting ancestry information to generate records of how the population structure has evolved each year between 1923 and 1987 in 12 geographical regions of Finland. For example, the war-related evacuation of Karelians from Southeast Finland other parts of the country show up as a clear, sudden increase in the Evacuated ancestry elsewhere in Finland between 1939 and 1945.

“Additionally, different regions of Finland show very different levels of genetic mixing in 1900’s, from little mixed regions like Ostrobothnia to highly mixed regions like Southwestern Finland.”

The scientists have provided an interactive website where people can browse the municipality and region-level genetic ancestry profiles with information from the results of the study.

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