DNA can be used as a telescope to look back into the past, and this is excatly what a group of scientists have done to cast more light on an ancient mystery.
New ground-breaking study suggests that Scots are descendants of long lost tribes from the Sahara.
In addition, the study also reveals that Scots are very closely related to Napoleon Bonaparte!
The new study is based on research conducted by geneticist Dr Jim Wilson and his team at Edinburgh University.
After testing DNA samples from almost 1,000 scots, researchers found that 1 per cent of all Scots are descended from the Berber and Tuareg tribesmen of the Sahara.
One of the startling revelations, was the discovery of DNA linked to Napoleon Bonaparte.
The research team discovered that Tom Conti, who took part in the project has a a family link to Napoleon Bonaparte, the French dictator.
It was discovered that the actor's DNA marker is Saracen in origin and that his ancestors settled in Italy around the 10th century before one of them,
Giovanni Buonaparte, settled in Corsica and founded the family line that sired Napoleon.
"Some friends said they weren't surprised to find out Napoleon and I were related, but it came as quite a shock to me.
In fact, I didn't believe it at first," the actor said.
The use of DNA allows scientists to use it as telescope to look back in time at where our ancestors once lived. it can be an amazing journey that can
take you to a really surprising place.
When Dr. Wilson discovered that some of the participants had DNA hailed from the Sahara, he had to double-check.
"I didn't believe it at first and checked it twice. But more than one, in fact quite a few of our participants had this marker that is only found
in and around the Sahara and among the blue men of the Tuareg.
Scotland, a beautiful and mysterious country.
So what on earth is it doing in Scotland? I didn't know. It took me a little while to work it out but what I learned was that it was spread to
Spain by the Moorish conquest of Spain, and then it came up the Atlantic margins, along the coast and up to France and then up to Scotland," Dr. Wilson said.
For Mr Moffat, the author of The Scots: A Genetic Journey, the results have been fascinating.
He said: "When the great Roman emperor Septimius Severus invaded Scotland with the largest army ever seen north of the Tweed,
40,000 legionaries and auxiliaries and a supporting fleet, he fought the Maeatae. They were mentioned by Roman historians as a fierce people and
much later, noted by Adomnan, the biographer of St Columba.
No-one knows the true origin of the Tuareg, where they came from or when they arrived in the Sahara.
"And then they disappeared from history," Mr Moffat said. "Now they are found. DNA has uncovered a high concentration of a
distinctive marker clustered around Stirling and the foothills of the Ochils - the homeland of the fierce Maeatae. These are stories only DNA can tell."
This is not the end to this incredible story. Dr. Wilson promises more surprises.
"We are sequencing the whole genome of seven Scots whose DNA is central to our history and we are looking at the role of Neanderthal DNA in Scotland,"
Dr. Wilson said.
We can expect to hear more from Dr. Wilson and his team in the near future.
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According to the reserachers this finding is very puzzling because the rock has never been described in the archaeological record of the region.
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