View Full Version : Finns on a 'genetic island'

June Pelo
25-05-10, 21:45
Finns form a genetic island between Eastern and Western Europe. The Finnish genetic makeup differs from that of other European nations which have been influenced from the east, west and south.

The eastern influence comes mainly from what is now Estonia. Finns are genetically closer to the Estonians than to the Russians. The strongest influence in the Finnish genome comes from the west via Sweden. Nations who speak languages that are related are not necessariy close genetically. Finnish genes are closer to those of the Dutch than they are to the Hungarians, whose language is related to Finnish. Genetically the Swedes and Estonians are about equally close to the Finns.

The genetic differences between the Finns and Hungarians have been known for a long time. The languages have the same origin, but they have spread through different routes than the genes. This is common in history. Hundreds of thousands of descendants of Swedish-speakers in Finland speak Finnish.

Residents of Kainuu in the northeaast, and Finland Proper in the southwest are genetically more different than the Swedes are from the British. The Helsinki region has an unusually great mixture of genetic material. The differences in national character cannot be directly derived from genetic heritage.

Peope in the west of Finland are slighty taller than those from the east. There are also differences in the frequency of heart disease. Some of them can be explained by genes.

From a new genetic atlas compiled by the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM.
Finnish American Reporter, June 2010