BASQUES ARE BROTHERS OF THE CELTS

WELSH and Irishmen are genetic blood-brothers of the Basque people, according to a study published today.

The findings provide the first direct evidence of a close relationship between the people thought of as Celts and the Basques.

The Basques are thought to be the closest descendants of the Palaeolithic people who established the first settlements in Britain more than 10,000 years ago.

The evidence of a link is in a study by James Wilson and Prof David Goldstein of University College London, with colleagues at Oxford University and the University of California, Davis. The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team looked for similarities between the Y chromosomes – only carried by men – of 88 “Celtic fringe” individuals from Anglesey, North Wales, 146 from Ireland with Irish Gaelic surnames, and 150 Basques, revealing “remarkable’ similarities.

The Celts carried the early Y chromosome, said the study, which provides the first clear evidence of a close relationship in the paternal heritage of Basque and Celtic speaking populations. “They were statistically indistinguishable’, said Prof Goldstein.

BY ROGER HIGHFIELD - SCIENCE EDITOR
Tuesday, April 3, 2001 THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

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