Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Scots: A Genetic Journey - History program from BBC Scotland

The Scots: A Genetic Journey

Scotland. Immigration. DNA. Three of my favorite things in one radio program. How cool is that? Hearing about The Scots – A Genetic Journey really cheered me up on a dull Wednesday afternoon.

This six-part series presented by Alastair Moffat and his book of the same title coincide with the 2011 census.  They aim to explore just who the Scots are and when they immigrated to Scotland, all with a little help from DNA. The series airs on BBC Scotland Wednesday afternoons at 15:30 and again Sunday mornings at 10:30. Each episode is available to listen to on iPlayer for seven days after the initial broadcast. The first two episodes have already aired, but there is still time to hear them. Episode 1 is available for three more days and Episode 2 for six.

Throughout the series, Moffat is joined by historical geneticist Dr. Jim Wilson of the University of Edinburgh as well as other experts.

I’ve listened to the first two episodes and really enjoyed them. The first episode discusses the (re)population of Scotland after the last ice age 13,000 years ago and pays a site visit to Cramond outside Edinburgh. Jim Wilson explains the basics of DNA research and the migration of early humans from Africa. The second episode focuses on the lost continent of Doggerland, which linked Britain and Europe, and genetic connections to Europe. They also visit Cairnpapple near Linlithgow.

A blog accompanies the program and includes extras like maps, photos and posts from the show’s experts.

The Scots: A Genetic Journey is not available in the US until May 2011. It will, according to Amazon, be available 1 March 2011 in the UK.

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