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Scots Modal - Origins

by Scott Warren Johnston
J/J/J participant  58683

The Scots modal has often been referred to as the signature of Colla Uais (along with his brothers they were known as the three Collas) who was king in the kingdom of Airgialla, which was located in Ireland in the 4th century.  Not every one agrees with this connection. John McEwan wrote to me the following:

"The three Collas were claimed to be of Irish descent from a long established line.

However, my analysis suggests that there is very little of the R1bSTR47Scots in Ireland (2% of R1b in Ireland), but it makes 

up 21% of Scottish R1b and 3% of English R1b. In contrast R1bSTR19Irish makes up 20% of Irish R1b and 

9% of Scottish R1b and 1% of English R1b.
The second thing is age; the group is by one estimate 4700 (+/-900 years) years old i.e. LONG, LONG before the Collas. 
Perhaps even more disturbingly if you look at absolute numbers rather than percentage there as many people in England with 

this signature as Scotland!
Finally the most disturbing to many is that those of English origin in this group are more 

diverse (translate as of older common origin) than the Scots!!! 
Here is a link to an even earlier analysis I did.. 
So these are the facts, how can they be interpreted?
1) Colla could not have been the founder for this haplotype. Why?
* The group is older than them by a significant margin
* They were born in the wrong country! The most likely origin of the group was probably England or 

England and Scotland based on haplotype diversity.
* The haplotype is present in many more people of English and lowland
Scots origin that have NO likely relationship to Colla based on location and surname than it is 

in Daliadic Scots who claim a link!
* For some reason this haplotype is rare in Ireland and we have seriously suspect most of what is present was 

introduced in the Ulster plantation.
2) What is more likely?
* This represents an indigenous British haplotype, probably present in pre-agricultural times sort of 

like the Irish variety is in Ireland.
* The Roman occupation and subsequent Angle and Saxon immigration left it at highest proportion of the 

population in the unoccupied part of Britain (aka Scotland). However, it is still present and diverse across all of England.
It is only present at low frequency in Europe supporting an Island origin.
* At some stage some enterprising native Scot(s) overrun by the Irish felt it was a good idea that he claim some 

connection to his Irish overlords ancestry!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
3) How did the Colla haplotype emerge?
* Well if you are an administrator for a very frequent Scottish surname and take a highest frequency distinct 

group within it (and a number of members claiming Colla descent fall into that group) and try determining the modal for 

the group probably consisting of several ancient separate lineages you inevitably tend to finish up with the 

R1bSTR47Scots modal for the underlying pre surname group rather than that of the claimed common recent ancestor.

It is also in distinct contrast to where a distinctive subgroup exists that is rather rare (like Somerled) that 

traces its ancestors to a famous person.
So in summary, a Colla could possibly have had the R1bSTR47 modal, but the evidence suggests it would have been 

rather unlikely in Ireland and even more unlikely that he had the modal haplotype. However, the evidence is very 

clear that those that fall in this group could not all be descended from him.
There are still a number of people who seriously claim that the Scots or
Colla haplotype derives from Ireland and Colla. Based on the above observations I feel other explanations are more likely. 

Cheers, John McEwan"


The Scots Modal therefore most likely did not derive from Cola Uais, but there is a lot of evidence from many clans that have this DNA signature that many of the early rulers of Scotland may have come from this genetic lineage.

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