Population genomics of the Viking world

Ashot Margaryan, Daniel J. Lawson, Martin Sikora, Fernando Racimo, Simon Rasmussen, Ida Moltke, Lara M. Cassidy, Emil Jørsboe, Andrés Ingason, Mikkel W. Pedersen, Thorfinn Korneliussen, Helene Wilhelmson, Magdalena M. Buś, Peter de Barros Damgaard, Rui Martiniano, Gabriel Renaud, Claude Bhérer, J. Víctor Moreno-Mayar, Anna K. Fotakis, Marie AllenRaili Allmäe, Martyna Molak, Enrico Cappellini, Gabriele Scorrano, Hugh McColl, Alexandra Buzhilova, Allison Fox, Anders Albrechtsen, Berit Schütz, Birgitte Skar, Caroline Arcini, Ceri Falys, Charlotte Hedenstierna Jonson, Dariusz Błaszczyk, Denis Pezhemsky, Gordon Turner-Walker, Hildur Gestsdóttir, Inge Lundstrøm, Ingrid Gustin, Ingrid Mainland, Inna Potekhina, Italo M. Muntoni, Jade Cheng, Jesper Stenderup, Jilong Ma, Julie Gibson, Jüri Peets, Jörgen Gustafsson, Katrine H. Iversen, Linzi Simpson, Lisa Strand, Louise Loe, Maeve Sikora, Marek Florek, Maria Vretemark, Mark Redknap, Monika Bajka, Tamara Pushkina, Morten Søvsø, Natalia Grigoreva, Tom Christensen, Ole Kastholm, Otto Uldum, Pasquale Favia, Per Holck, Sabine Sten, Símun V. Arge, Sturla Ellingvåg, Vayacheslav Moiseyev, Wiesław Bogdanowicz, Yvonne Magnusson, Ludovic Orlando, Peter Pentz, Mads Dengsø Jessen, Anne Pedersen, Mark Collard, Daniel G. Bradley, Marie Louise Jørkov, Jette Arneborg, Niels Lynnerup, Neil Price, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Morten E. Allentoft, Jan Bill, Søren M. Sindbæk, Lotte Hedeager, Kristian Kristiansen, Rasmus Nielsen, Thomas Werge, Eske Willerslev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalNature
Volume585
Issue number7825
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Sep 2020

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