Population genomics of the Viking world

Ashot Margaryan, + 77, Jette Arneborg, + 9, Eske Willerslev

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The maritime expansion of Scandinavian populations during the Viking Age (about
ad 750–1050) was a far-flung transformation in world history1,2. Here we sequenced
the genomes of 442 humans from archaeological sites across Europe and Greenland
(to a median depth of about 1×) to understand the global influence of this expansion.
We find the Viking period involved gene flow into Scandinavia from the south and east.
We observe genetic structure within Scandinavia, with diversity hotspots in the south
and restricted gene flow within Scandinavia. We find evidence for a major influx of
Danish ancestry into England; a Swedish influx into the Baltic; and Norwegian influx
into Ireland, Iceland and Greenland. Additionally, we see substantial ancestry from
elsewhere in Europe entering Scandinavia during the Viking Age. Our ancient DNA
analysis also revealed that a Viking expedition included close family members. By
comparing with modern populations, we find that pigmentation-associated loci have
undergone strong population differentiation during the past millennium, and trace
positively selected loci—including the lactase-persistence allele of LCT and alleles of
ANKA that are associated with the immune response—in detail. We conclude that the
Viking diaspora was characterized by substantial transregional engagement: distinct
populations influenced the genomic makeup of different regions of Europe, and
Scandinavia experienced increased contact with the rest of the continent.
Vol/bind585 (7825)
Antal sider25
StatusUdgivet - 2020