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The DNA of the Giants of Mid Ulster (Jan 2023)

The story of the famous 18th Century Irish giant known as 'Charles Byrne' has been in the news recently. His skeleton was on display in London (pictured) for over 200 years and will now be repatriated to Ireland. However, what’s probably not as well known is that Charles’s DNA was used to discover the mutation that caused his gigantism. Researchers discovered that a mutation in a gene known as AIP was responsible. Charles Byrne was born near Littlebridge in the south of County Derry/Londonderry in Ulster in an area where ‘Irish giants’ are well known and well documented through history. Intriguingly, the famous ‘Giants Causeway’can be found further north on the Antrim coast (folklore reveals is associated with the Irish giant known as 'Finn MacCool)'.The researchers then set about screening the local population for the AIP R304* mutation. They discovered that the mutation is frequent in the inhabitants of Mid Ulster, particularly in the borderlands of Tyrone and Derry/Londonderry, resulting in numerous gigantism cases.

What is really interesting is that the researchers estimate that the male/female founder of the Giant-associated AIP mutation lived at least 1,500 years ago in Mid Ulster and that many of that’ founders’ descendants still live in the area. It is a mystery as to why there is persistence of the R304* mutation in the local population? But, as the paper states ‘While R304*‐associated disease manifestations include hypopituitarism, infertility, and shortened life span, it is possible that there were inclusive fitness effects in the unaffected carrier relatives of giants in the past—perhaps as a result of elevated status—that may have counterbalanced selective disadvantages in affected carriers.' I am currently trying to identify the surnames (besides Holland/Mulholland and Byrne/Burn) that are associated with these Mid Ulster Irish Giants. The Giantism Gene mutation pre-dates the Plantation of Ireland (1610AD) and hence is associated with the Gaelic Irish community of Mid Ulster. Do you have gigantism in your family and links with Mid-Ulster? If so, drop an email or contact Irish Origenes click here

The original Scientific paper can be studied by CLICKING HERE..

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