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The study clearly showed there was no significant genetic contribution made by Roma Gypsies to Traveller DNA.This disproves a view held by some that the two groups were genetically related.It involved looking at the DNA of more than 11,000 people including Travellers, Roma Gypsies, settled Irish, British, Continental Europeans and individuals from the rest of the world.It also sought to set a time for when the Traveller community began to form as a distinct and separate population.One cluster is associated with the “Rathkeale group” of Travellers.Two other clusters are linked to whether the Traveller speaks the Cant or Gammon dialects of the Traveller language Shelta.
The emergence of Irish Travellers as a distinct group occurred long before the Great Famine, a genetic analysis shows.
“Travellers cluster with the Irish but they are very definitely distinct from the Irish.
There is a considerable genetic distance between them.” The far-reaching study sought to understand the genetic connections between Travellers, the settled Irish and people further afield.
The DNA analysis also revealed that there are four “genetic clusters” or subdivisions within the Traveller community.
These in turn tend to match up with their social grouping and use of language.
They did not however have to speculate about the genetics including an important analysis of the interrelatedness of Travellers, something the researchers say could have implications for disease mapping within Ireland.