The genetic history of Scandinavia from the Roman Iron Age to the present

Ricardo Rodríguez-Varela*, Kristjan H.S. Moore, Sigríður Sunna Ebenesersdóttir, Gulsah Merve Kilinc, Anna Kjellström, Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay, Clara Alfsdotter, Birgitta Berglund, Loey Alrawi, Natalija Kashuba, Verónica Sobrado, Vendela Kempe Lagerholm, Edmund Gilbert, Gianpiero L. Cavalleri, Eivind Hovig, Ingrid Kockum, Tomas Olsson, Lars Alfredsson, Thomas F. Hansen, Thomas WergeArielle R. Munters, Carolina Bernhardsson, Birgitte Skar, Axel Christophersen, Gordon Turner-Walker, Shyam Gopalakrishnan, Eva Daskalaki, Ayça Omrak, Patxi Pérez-Ramallo, Pontus Skoglund, Linus Girdland-Flink, Fredrik Gunnarsson, Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Kerstin Lidén, Mattias Jakobsson, Lars Einarsson, Helena Victor, Maja Krzewińska, Torun Zachrisson, Jan Storå, Kári Stefánsson, Agnar Helgason*, Anders Götherström*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate a 2,000-year genetic transect through Scandinavia spanning the Iron Age to the present, based on 48 new and 249 published ancient genomes and genotypes from 16,638 modern individuals. We find regional variation in the timing and magnitude of gene flow from three sources: the eastern Baltic, the British-Irish Isles, and southern Europe. British-Irish ancestry was widespread in Scandinavia from the Viking period, whereas eastern Baltic ancestry is more localized to Gotland and central Sweden. In some regions, a drop in current levels of external ancestry suggests that ancient immigrants contributed proportionately less to the modern Scandinavian gene pool than indicated by the ancestry of genomes from the Viking and Medieval periods. Finally, we show that a north-south genetic cline that characterizes modern Scandinavians is mainly due to the differential levels of Uralic ancestry and that this cline existed in the Viking Age and possibly earlier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-46.e19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge support from the National Genomics Infrastructure in Stockholm funded by Science for Life Laboratory , the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Research Council , and SNIC/Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science for assistance with massively parallel sequencing and access to the UPPMAX computational infrastructure. We used resources from projects SNIC 2022/23-132 , SNIC 2022/22-117 , SNIC 2022/23-163 , SNIC 2022/22-299 , and SNIC 2021-2-17 . This research was supported by the Swedish Research Council project ID 2019-00849 _VR and ATLAS (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond). Part of the modern dataset was supported by a research grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), grant number 16/RC/3948, and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund and by FutureNeuro industry partners.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

Other keywords

  • gene flow
  • human population genomics
  • migration period
  • Scandinavian genetic structure
  • Viking
  • Humans
  • Europe
  • United Kingdom
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries
  • Genetic Variation
  • White People/genetics
  • Genome, Human
  • Human Migration


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