People invited to participate in genetic study of Scottish traveler community


People who have two or more grandparents from the Scottish traveler community are invited to participate in the group’s first genetic study.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh seek to understand how Scottish travelers relate to Irish travelers, English gypsies and Welsh cabbages, as well as those from sedentary communities.

Participants will be asked to provide a saliva sample for genetic testing, as well as complete a survey about their health and lifestyle.

Previous research has helped define the Irish traveler community as a distinct ethnic group, the university said.

Principal investigator Professor Jim Wilson said: “Scottish traveler groups have never been involved in studies using the power of modern genetics. I was delighted to be invited by representatives of this community to conduct a study that will reveal how Traveler communities fit into the genetic landscape of Scotland and the British Isles.

Samantha Donaldson, a Scottish traveler from Dunfermline and a member of the study’s public participation panel, said: “For us travelers, also known as Nacken, this study could be very useful.

“There are many myths surrounding our origins, so the study could potentially prove or disprove some of these stories. Travelers have some of the biggest health inequalities in Scotland.

“If we are genetically predisposed to certain conditions more than other groups, or if we have diseases that are more likely to affect us,

then health professionals may be able to use data to address some of these inequalities. ”

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