History at Leicester

The Isle of Man study

Background to the study

This University of Leicester-funded study is being carried out by Hayley Dunn under the joint supervision of Professor Mark Jobling (Department of Genetics) and Dr Simon James (School of Archaeology) as part of research leading to a PhD degree. The aim of project is to look at the proportion of Viking ancestry among the inhabitants of the Isle of Man.

In this project we will exploit the power of the link we have previously shown between surnames and Y-chromosomal DNA (both of which are passed from father to son). We will use historical lists of surnames present on the Isle of Man in medieval times to recruit modern donor samples to mimic the population of the past. We will analyse Y chromosomes because these are linked with surnames, and then estimate proportions of Norwegian ancestry in these samples.

We have nearly completed recruitment for this study, but still require participants bearing one of a small number of names. These are highlighted in orange on the table below.  If you are a man carrying one of these surnames and would like to take part in the study, please read on below. 

The only criteria for participating are that you are a man whose father's father was born on the Isle of Man, and that your surname is one of those listed below.

  • Carroon
  • Casement
  • Caveen
  • Christory
  • Cojeen
  • Corkan
  • Crye
  • Moughtin
  • Mylcraine
  • Mylroie
  • Quillin

What does taking part involve?

Participating will take around 10 minutes of your time and enable you to find out more about your ancestry and the history of the Isle of Man. We ask that you fill out a questionnaire about your ancestry, sign a consent form, and donate a saliva sample that provides us with the DNA that we need.

Participants will be provided with a summary of the results, designed for a layperson, at the end of the study in 2013. In addition we will provide a copy of each participant's Y chromosome genetic fingerprint and an explanation sheet designed for the layperson.

During this project we are looking at normal variation only, and no targeted tests of any medical consequence are done. However, while analyzing Y-chromosomal variation it can be found, in very rare cases, that a man has lost part of his Y chromosome which is related to fertility. Therefore, if potential participants are concerned about the risks of detecting infertility, we would suggest that they do not take part.

How to take part

To register to take part please email surnames@le.ac.uk. In this study we require only one man per surname (including surname spelling variants). As representatives for each surname come forward, we will list the remaining surnames for which we do not yet have participants.

Further information

Please do not hesitate to contact us at the address or phone number below, should you require any further information.

+44 (0)116 252 3377 

If you have been unable to take part in our study you may be interested to know that another Manx DNA study is being carried out by John Creer. To find out more about his project and how to participate, please see this website. John is interested in the existence of possible genetic connections between individual Manx families and shared origins with neighbouring Irish and Scottish tribes as well as with Scandinavian visitors. Please note that taking part in our study does not and should not preclude you from taking part in John's!

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