The millions of tiny variations in human DNA can together create striking geographic genetic patterning across peoples and regions. In the People of Norway project we aim to uncover this detailed, underlying genetic patterning in Norway, using anonymized genetic information from the nationwide Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study. Though an exciting result in itself, this genetic atlas of the country will then be used to examine relationships between Norway and neighboring countries, genetic continuity with the past by the use of ancient DNA data, and links between genetic patterns and patterns based on archaeology and linguistics. We will further examine the evolving genetic landscape by
focusing on the effects of urbanization and recent intra- and international migration. Finally, we will attempt to use our new knowledge of fine-scale genetic population structure to improve the discovery of disease-related genetic variation, and to
find out how and when disease-causing variation entered the gene pool.
This project aims to provide the first in-depth study of the genetic population structure of Norway, and to illuminate links between this genetic structure and historical and cultural aspects of the Norwegian population. Using proven and cutting-edge bioinformatics approaches with large-scale existing genetic data, we will reveal fine-scale population groupings and elucidate their interrelationship, in both a genetic and geographic framework. We will examine links between these groupings to interdisciplinary facets of population history, including linguistics, archaeology, and demography to identify both shared and differing trajectories. We will also elucidate the genetic effects and magnitude of the last several centuries of migration within and into Norway. Finally, we will harness structure data to help refine medical genetic research by better accounting for population structure in genetic analyses, identifying genetic determinants of localized disease clusters, examining mutational loads in population isolates, and incoprorating the evolutionary history of genetic disease predisposition.