An extensive genetic survey of researchers in Sweden and Finland shows clear variations between different parts of the country and indicates that Swedes are closer to Brits and Danes genetically than to Finland.
The significant differences between Swedes and neighbouring Finns has surprised researchers, as Finland and Sweden were united for several hundred years.
“It is both strange and interesting that the genes are so linked to language. It may be that if we speak different languages, you are less likely to jump into bed with one another,” said Per Hall, Professor at Karolinska Institute, and one of the researchers behind the study.
He believes that the results may have important medical implications as genetic differences, such as those between populations in northern and southern Sweden, can often explain the prevalence of certain diseases.
“Stomach cancer is for example very common in the north. It may be due to genetic factors, because lifestyle differences in Sweden are not really very significant,” Hall said.
The study compared the genetic make up of a total of 1500 persons of Swedish origin, with just over 3000 people from other European countries.