GENETICISTS are shedding light on a turbulent era in Dark Ages Scotland as new research unravels the ancestral DNA linking the lost kingdom of Strathclyde, Picts and one in every 100 Welsh men.

The latest findings come after the team behind the Scotland's DNA project launched in Wales in September.

Since then, researchers have discovered a new Y chromosome lineage that accounts for about one per cent of all Welsh fatherlines - a genetic marker that can be traced back through generations of fathers and sons.

The grouping, which has been nicknamed "the men of the North", has yet to be found outside Wales but has been shown to be related in the last 2,000 years or so to a group concentrated in Scotland that shows descent from the Picts.

Some 10 per cent of all Scottish men belong to this "Pictish" lineage compared to just 0.8 per cent of Englishmen. It is particularly concentrated in Perthshire, Fife, Angus and ­Grampian, regions of Scotland with known Pictish heritage.

The discovery of shared ancestral ties between men in Scotland and Wales is at the centre of a new theory that this one per cent of Welsh men are direct descendents of a small band of ancient Scottish aristocrats, who fled the Old Welsh-speaking kingdom of Strathclyde in the ninth century to escape a Viking invasion.

They are thought to have headed south, by sea, to find refuge in north Wales after the Viking kings Ivar and Olaf led their dragonships up the Clyde in 870, laying siege to the fortress on Dumbarton Rock and eventually capturing Artgul, the king of Strathclyde.

Alistair Moffat, historian and co-founder of Scotland's DNA, said: "The nobility of Strathclyde was quite often Pictish and several scholars believe that several kings of Strathclyde were Picts.

"After the siege of Dumbarton Rock it was this top slice of society who went to Wales. They are the ones chased out by the Vikings in 870, and that's why the Pictish Y chromosome DNA has ended up in Wales."

Researchers are working to create a genetic map of Britain, and hope that as further samples come in from men in Wales and Scotland, the DNA overlaps between the two nations will become clearer.