PEOPLE who have at least two grandparents from the Scottish Traveller community are urged to take part in the first genetic study of the group.

Edinburgh University researchers are seeking to understand how Scottish Travellers relate to Irish Travellers, English Gypsies and Welsh Kale, as well as those in settled communities.

Those who take part will be asked to provide a saliva sample for genetic testing, as well as complete a survey about their health and lifestyles.

Previous research helped to define the Irish Traveller community as a distinct ethnic group, the university said.

Lead researcher, Professor Jim Wilson, said: “Scottish Traveller groups have never been involved in studies using the power of modern genetics. I was delighted to be asked by representatives of this community to carry out a study that will reveal how the Traveller communities fit into the genetic landscape of Scotland and the British Isles.”

Samantha Donaldson, a Scottish Traveller from Dunfermline and a member of the study’s public involvement panel, said: “For us Travellers, also known as Nacken, this study could be very useful.

“Many myths surround our origins, so the study could potentially prove or disprove some of these stories. Travellers have some of the greatest health inequalities in Scotland.

“If we are genetically predisposed to certain conditions more than other groups, or if we have illnesses that are more likely to affect us,

then health professionals may be able to use data to address some of these inequalities.”