Letter: Cornish genes

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Sir: We read with interest Peter Dunn's report ('Gene map is lost in a political minefield', 13 June) about our project 'Earlybird', which is investigating the genetic background of the Cornish Celts and its relationship to the susceptibility to childhood diabetes. We have collected samples from volunteers of the farming communities at the cattle markets at Truro and Helston, as well as more recently attending the Royal Cornwall County Show.

Your readers may be interested to hear that, contrary to your article, we were overwhelmed with volunteers from the general public. Indeed, on the Friday of the show, we were taking a sample every three minutes, many from people who had taken time off work to donate their blood. Our sample size of 400 will now yield valuable information about the cause of childhood diabetes in Cornwall as well as the rest of Europe.

These Cornish men and women were indeed 'up in arms' - to give us their Cornish blood.

Yours faithfully,



University of Plymouth

Plymouth, Devon

20 June