Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Genetic Insights into the Settlement History of the Americas

28.11.2007
Did a relatively small number of people from Siberia who trekked across a Bering Strait land bridge some 12,000 years ago give rise to the indigenous populations of North and South America?

Or, did the ancestors of today’s Native Americans come from other parts of Asia or Polynesia, arriving multiple times at several places on the two continents, by sea as well as by land, in successive migrations that began as early as 30,000 years ago? Such questions have fascinated anthropologists and archaeologists for decades.

An international team of geneticists and anthropologists, from U.S., British, Canadian, Swiss, and Central and South American universities, have produced new genetic evidence that is likely to hearten proponents of the land bridge theory. This study, published PLoS Genetics, is one of the most comprehensive analyses to date among efforts to use genetic data to shed light on the settlement history of the Americas.

The researchers examined genetic variation at 678 key locations or markers in the DNA of present-day members of 29 Native American populations across North, Central and South America. They also analyzed data from two Siberian groups. The analysis shows that genetic diversity, as well as genetic similarity to the Siberian groups, decreases the farther a native population is from the Bering Strait – adding to existing archaeological and genetic evidence that the ancestors of Native North and South Americans came by the northwest route.

... more about:
»Genetic »Migration »evidence »native »variant

The analysis also shows that a unique genetic variant is widespread in Native Americans across the American continents – suggesting that the first humans in the Americas came in a single migration or multiple waves from a single source, not in waves of migrations from different sources. This variant has not been found in genetic studies of people elsewhere in the world except in eastern Siberia.

The researchers say the variant likely occurred shortly prior to migration to the Americas, or immediately afterwards. “We have reasonably clear genetic evidence that the most likely candidate for the source of Native American populations is somewhere in east Asia,” says Noah A. Rosenberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of human genetics and assistant research professor of bioinformatics at the Center for Computational Medicine and Biology at the University of Michigan Medical School and assistant research professor at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute.

“If there were a large number of migrations, and most of the source groups didn’t have the variant, then we would not see the widespread presence of the mutation in the Americas,” he says.

The pattern that the research uncovered – that as the founding populations moved south from the Bering Strait, genetic diversity declined – is what one would expect when migration is relatively recent, says Mattias Jakobsson, co-first author of the paper. There has not yet been time for mutations that typically occur over longer periods to diversify the gene pool.

In addition, the study’s findings hint at supporting evidence for scholars who believe early inhabitants followed the coasts to spread south into South America, rather than moving in waves across the interior. “Assuming a migration route along the coast provides a slightly better fit with the pattern we see in genetic diversity,” Rosenberg says.

Funding for the research came from the National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Fondecyt Proyecto, the Swiss National Foundation and the University of Michigan.

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://genetics.plos.org

Further reports about: Genetic Migration evidence native variant

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

nachricht New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises
18.08.2017 | University of Hawaii at Manoa

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device

18.08.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>