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France Regional DNA Project

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One Family Project

The One Family One World Project is a partnership between Living DNA and Eupedia initiated in 2017. The project aims to map the regional genetic variations of the world with a great level of detail and accuracy in order to improve our understanding of both recent and ancient migrations and see how humans are all connected with one another as one big family.

Genetic variations within France

France is a country whose boundaries fluctuated a lot over the last millennium. Lying at the crossroads of Western Europe, modern France comprises areas that previously belonged to the Low Countries (Flanders and Hainaut), the Holy Roman Empire (Alsace, Lorraine, Franche-Comté, Lyonnais, Dauphiné, Burgundy, Savoy, Provence), Italy (Corsica, Nice) and Spain (Basque country, Roussillon).

Historical context

Known in ancient times as Gaul, France was never ethnically unified. The country is split in its middle by the 45th parallel north, which divides the northern Langues d'oïl dialects from the southern Occitan dialects. It also bisects the cooking styles between northern European cultures, where cuisine is butter-based, and southern European cultures, where olive oil is preferred. This divide is not just based on climatic differences, but also on the diverging genetic history of northern and southern France.

Back in the Bronze Age the Proto-Indo-Europeans, cattle herders who arrived from Eastern Europe invaded France from Germany and settled more heavily in the flatter north and west of France, where land was better suited for dairy farming.

Later migrations from the north of Europe further reinforced the north-south genetic divide. In the 6th century a large number of migrants from Wales and Southwest England crossed the English Channel to settled in Brittany. As a result modern Bretons share a high percentage of DNA with modern Welsh and Cornish people.

Germanic invasions had an uneven genetic impact. While the Visigoths only constituted a small ruling elite and were mostly driven out to Spain, the Franks left substantial genetic legacy, particularly in the Langues d'oïl regions. The Vikings and Burgundians also left noticeable genetic markers, in Normandy and eastern France, respectively.

Objective & Methodology

To determine the boundaries between proposed genetic regions of France we took into account the areas of settlements of ancient Celtic and Gascon/Basque populations, and the places where the Romans, Visigoths, Burgundians, Franks and Vikings later settled most heavily.

We believe that the historical borders of counties and duchies, natural barriers (rivers, mountains), as well as the perimeters of the various dialects also influenced the way genes spread in the population over time, as people tended to marry much more frequently within the confines of their geographic, political and linguistic boundaries.

Each of the proposed regions represent potentially distinct historical ancestral groups. The aim of the project is to confirm whether the proposed genetic boundaries are correct, and redefine them if necessary based on the actual genetic data collected from participants in each region.

Proposed genetic regions of France

Our preliminary research indicates at least 32 areas of France may have distinct genetic differences.

Proposed genetic divisions of France - One Family One World DNA Project
  • Alsace
  • Anjou-Tourraine
  • Artois-Picardy
  • Auvergne
  • Bearn
  • Berry-Bourbonnais
  • Brittany
  • Burgundy
  • Champagne
  • Corsica
  • Flanders
  • Foix
  • Franche-Comté
  • Gascony
  • Hainault
  • Ile-de-France
  • Jura
  • Languedoc
  • Limousin
  • Lorraine
  • Lyonnais-Dauphiné
  • Maine
  • Normandy
  • Orléanais
  • Périgord
  • Poitou
  • Provence
  • Quercy-Rouergue
  • Roussillon
  • Saintonge
  • Savoy
  • Upper Provence

How do I qualify?

The One Family project is open to everyone worldwide and has two parts.

  • 1. To build a genetic family tree of everyone from around the world, regardless of where your family comes from.
  • 2. To build a regional genetic breakdown of ancestry within countries, similar to 'The Peopling of the British Isles project'. This part of the project is looking for people with all four grandparents born within 80km (50mi) of each other inside our project areas of interest.

If you have already tested with Living DNA, all you need to do to join the project is log into your account, click on the Research tab and choose to participate in our global ancestry research project, if you haven't already done it.

If you already tested your DNA with another company (23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, or FTDNA's Family Finder), you can join the project here for free. After submitting the form with your family information, you will receive an email to confirm the creation of your Living DNA account and will be asked to upload your genome there for free.

If you have not yet tested your DNA with one of the above companies, then you will need to order a Living DNA test to take part.

The data provided as part of the project is kept strictly private and confidential under Living DNA’s ISO:27001 certification for information security. Please read Living DNA's Privacy Policy for more information.

See also

Genetic history of the Benelux & France

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