Death Metal Maniac brings us a story from the New York Times about a team of scientists who were able to relate genetic differences to geographical origins
. Countries such as Germany, Austria, and France occupy the central area of the genetic map, with Italy, Finland, and the UK being relative outliers. Quoting:
"All the populations are quite similar, but the differences are sufficient that it should be possible to devise a forensic test to tell which country in Europe an individual probably comes from, said Manfred Kayser, a geneticist at the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. ... Genomic sites that carry the strongest signal of variation among populations may be those influenced by evolutionary change, Dr. Kayser said. Of the 100 strongest sites, 17 are found in the region of the genome that confers lactose tolerance, an adaptation that arose among a cattle herding culture in northern Europe some 5,000 years ago."
Update: 08/16 15:11 GMT:
Reader iminplaya points out the source article
, which contains the technical details behind the study.