A new genetic study could detail the development of DNA among people living in Britain.
Around 30 percent of Britons are descended from Germans, the study has revealed. The Anglo-Saxon influence in Britain was brought to the island during a migration of people from Saxony during the 5th Century.
More than 2,000 people in England were studied in order to develop a history of DNA contributions to the modern genetic codes of those people living on the island nation.
Viking and Norman DNA seen in modern Britons is dated from a later time than segments of the genome from French and Danish sources, the study reveals. However, despite centuries of invasions of the island by Normans, Vikings and Romans, relatively little of their DNA is present in the genomes of modern people on the islands.
The study found that the genetic makeup of Britons differed greatly by location. People living in Ireland, Scotland and Wales were found to have a distinct genetic history from those on other parts of the United Kingdom.
"The Celtic regions one might have expected to be genetically similar, but they're among the most different in our study. It's stressing their genetic difference, it's not saying there aren't cultural similarities," Mark Robinson from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History said.
People living in the region of Europe now known as France first migrated to the island almost 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last major ice age.
Researchers spent 20 years collecting DNA and carrying out their study. Subjects were all of Caucasian ancestry, were descended from grandparents who lived within 50 miles of each other and lived in rural areas at the time of the study. Investigators who took part in the study came from the University College London, University of Oxford and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.
The Celtic people were found to be among the most genetically diverse of all people living in the United Kingdom, refuting the idea of a single heritage for those groups.
The Welsh were found to be the most similar to the original inhabitants of the British Isles. A previously-unrecorded migration was also detected in the genetic record of the population. This human movement took place after the initial occupation of the island chain 100 centuries in the past, but before the Romans arrived. These migrants left their genetic record across most of the United Kingdom, except in Wales. The study also shows regional groups may have remained largely independent for several centuries before interbreeding became common.
Analysis of the ancestry of modern Britons through examination of their DNA was published in the journal Nature.
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