Short Report

European Journal of Human Genetics (2010) 18, 1269–1270; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.92; published online 23 June 2010

Genes predict village of origin in rural Europe

Colm O'Dushlaine1, Ruth McQuillan2, Michael E Weale3, Daniel J M Crouch3, Åsa Johansson4, Yurii Aulchenko5, Christopher S Franklin2, Ozren Polašek6, Christian Fuchsberger7, Aiden Corvin1, Andrew A Hicks7, Veronique Vitart8, Caroline Hayward8, Sarah H Wild2, Thomas Meitinger9,10, Cornelia M van Duijn5, Ulf Gyllensten4, Alan F Wright8, Harry Campbell2, Peter P Pramstaller7, Igor Rudan2,6,11 and James F Wilson2

  1. 1Neuropsychiatric Genetics Research Group, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, King's College London, London, UK
  4. 4Department of Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  5. 5Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  6. 6Gen-Info Ltd, Zagreb, Croatia
  7. 7Institute of Genetic Medicine, European Academy (EURAC), Bozen/Bolzano, Italy
  8. 8MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Edinburgh, UK
  9. 9Institute of Human Genetics, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany
  10. 10Institute of Human Genetics, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, München, Germany
  11. 11Croatian Centre for Global Health, University of Split, Split, Croatia

Correspondence: Dr JF Wilson, Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK. Tel: +44 131 651 1643; Fax: +44 131 650 6909; E-mail:

Received 7 October 2009; Revised 21 January 2010; Accepted 9 April 2010; Published online 23 June 2010.



The genetic structure of human populations is important in population genetics, forensics and medicine. Using genome-wide scans and individuals with all four grandparents born in the same settlement, we here demonstrate remarkable geographical structure across 8–30km in three different parts of rural Europe. After excluding close kin and inbreeding, village of origin could still be predicted correctly on the basis of genetic data for 89–100% of individuals.


population structure; principal components; genome-wide genotyping