Thursday, 17 August 2006

Test for Scottishness

Newspapers around the world have picked up a story that a geneticist has developed a DNA test for “Scottishness”. "Dr Jim Wilson, of Edinburgh University’s public health sciences department, claims his test can tell whether people are descended from the Picts, who inhabited Scotland until the 10th century." You can read what the company, Ethnoancestry, has to say about the test here.

People would be wise to treat this type of test with some skepticism. Why would the Picts who settled in Scotland all have similar DNA? The test, which is based on 27 DYS markers, is proprietary means it has not been subject to open peer reviewed. What guarantee, beyond the company reputation, is there that the results represent a robust Pictish profile?

Here, as a free public service, I offer as an Anglo-Celtic Connections exclusive, a test for Scottishness. It too is guaranteed ... not to have been subject to peer review.

You're more Scottish if:

Your name start with Mc or Mac.

You can recognize your clan tartan.

You know its summer in Scotland 'cause the rain is warmer.

You like eating haggis while listening to the bagpipes.

You enjoy golf and curling, but play neither well.

You think of England as Lower Scotland, or if an American, Baja Scotland.

You're not so unsure of your Scottishness that you'd pay anyone £130 ($249) to test it?

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