12th August 2005




The head of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Lincoln is appealing for volunteers to take part in a new £2.3million project looking into the link between genetics and diseases such as cancer.


Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the study called ‘People of the British Isles’ is being led by Professor Sir William Bodmer of the University of Oxford who is aiming to collect DNA samples from 3500 people as a nationwide control group.


The researchers are looking at the genetics of different populations to see just how important genetic background is in many common diseases such as cancer and heart disease. 


Channel 4 is making a documentary series based on the study and is hoping to include Lincolnshire volunteers.


The university’s Head of Biomedical Sciences, Dr Ron Dixon, who is the local researcher said: “We are interested in collecting DNA from the blood samples of 150 to 200 volunteers. Lincolnshire is a target area for us because it is one of the great rural regions of England – people are likely to have stayed in farming/ agricultural communities for many generations and the modern population may well reflect this.”


Another aim of the project is to use the DNA samples to investigate historical patterns of population movement within the UK.


Using family history groups and surname distribution information, the project hopes to compare geographical distribution of surnames around the UK with genetic make-up by modern DNA analysis. 


Dr Dixon said: “The ‘Genes and Geography’ approach may help us to understand how and why populations migrated around the UK in times past, possibly spurred on by economic pressures, disease or war.”  


To be included in the study volunteers must be able to show that they, their parents and their grandparents were all born in Lincolnshire.


If you would like to take part in the study please write to: Dr Ron Dixon at the Department of Forensic & Biomedical Sciences, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LN6 7TS or email rdixon@lincoln.ac.uk.


For more information contact:

Kate Strawson, Assistant Press Officer: (01522) 886244 or kstrawson@lincoln.ac.uk