The genetic structure of Norway

Eur J Hum Genet. 2021 Nov;29(11):1710-1718. doi: 10.1038/s41431-021-00899-6. Epub 2021 May 17.


The aim of the present study was to describe the genetic structure of the Norwegian population using genotypes from 6369 unrelated individuals with detailed information about places of residence. Using standard single marker- and haplotype-based approaches, we report evidence of two regions with distinctive patterns of genetic variation, one in the far northeast, and another in the south of Norway, as indicated by fixation indices, haplotype sharing, homozygosity, and effective population size. We detect and quantify a component of Uralic Sami ancestry that is enriched in the North. On a finer scale, we find that rates of migration have been affected by topography like mountain ridges. In the broader Scandinavian context, we detect elevated relatedness between the mid- and northern border areas towards Sweden. The main finding of this study is that despite Norway's long maritime history and as a former Danish territory, the region closest to mainland Europe in the south appears to have been an isolated region in Norway, highlighting the open sea as a barrier to gene flow into Norway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Norway
  • Pedigree
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Population / genetics*