Dissecting the genetic history of a human population: A decade of research about Icelanders
Iceland was settled 1100 years ago, during the Viking age, as a part of an expansion of Norse invaders across much of Northwestern Europe, which had a particularly long-lasting cultural and genetic impact on the populations in the North Atlantic. My talk will summarize the outcome of just over a decade of research at deCODE Genetics focussing on the genetic history of the Icelandic population. I will explain how genealogies and genetic data from modern and ancient Icelanders have been used to shed light on questions about the origins of the first settlers 1100 years ago and the subsequent evolutionary history of the population, including its brief foray to Greenland and Newfoundland (Vinland). My talk will also explore the settlement of Iceland in the context of other populations in the North Atlantic region, such as Shetland, Orkney and the Faroe Islands, and what this can tell us about the behaviour of the Norse during the Viking age.