Residents of a picturesque Gloucestershire village who agreed to undergo a mass DNA test received some rather surprising results – discovering that their genetic make-up was only 42% British.
It was also revealed that more than half of the people living in Bledington, located between the Cotswold towns of Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Norton, are related to one another.
Data gathered before the test identified the 500-strong village population as being 94.5% white British.
But the DNA analysis found that the villagers’ heritage spans 18 global locations and includes countries such as France, Germany, Greece and Finland.
The testing, carried out by AncestryDNA, revealed the average person there is actually only 42% Great British (Anglo Saxon) in genetic terms.
One resident, 73-year-old Sue Windsor, was surprised to find out that she doesn’t have any British DNA at all.
She said: “I was a bit surprised because I have got 69% Europe West, 23% Ireland and 8% other regions.
“I haven’t got any British in me, which I was a bit taken back by because my family has always lived in this country.”
Sue says that she now plans to investigate her heritage further.
Village historian Sylvia Reeves, 93, and parish councillor Steve Tyack, 46, were pleased to find out they were distant cousins.
Mrs Reeves said: “I’ve been here in Bledington for 56 years and I’ve known Steve’s family ever since I have been here.
“I even watched his parents courting, so to find out we are related is amazing.
“I would never have dreamt it especially because Stephen is rooted round here whereas I came to Bledington by chance after being born in London.”
Mr Tyack, who is a builder, said: “Of everybody in the village, I’m really happy to be related to Sylvia.
“This whole experience has been wonderful – a real opportunity. It’s really brought the community spirit back to Bledington.”
The experiment, which was the first and largest project of its kind to test the DNA of a community of people in a concentrated area, was carried out via a saliva sample of nearly 120 residents ranging in age from 19 to 93.
AncestryDNA spokesman Russell James said: “Despite the majority of residents assuming they were British through and through, this fascinating process uncovered some incredibly diverse heritage and allowed us to take a broader look at the genetic history of the village as a whole.
“It seems that Bledington‘s picturesque and arguably ‘typical England’ look and feel is deceiving as, on average, less than half of the villagers’ DNA (42%) was identified as Great British.”
The DNA breakdown of a typical Bledington resident
- Great Britain (Anglo Saxon) 42.54%
- Europe West (The region covered today by France and Germany) 20.61%
- Ireland/Scotland/Wales 17.03%
- Scandinavia 10.06%
- Peninsula (Spain/Portugal) 2.80%
- Italy/Greece 1.79%
- Europe East 1.66%
- European Jewish 1.58%
- Finland/Northwest 1.03%
- Caucasus 0.46%
- West Asia 0.24%
- Asia South 0.11%
- Asia Central 0.03%
- Africa North 0.03%
- Native American 0.01%
- Asia East 0.01%
- Middle East 0.01%
- Melanesia 0.01%