Home » Article » Palaeogenomics and Revealing the Ancestry of Early Americans

Palaeogenomics and Revealing the Ancestry of Early Americans

Hypothetical migration events of early Americans. Image taken from Nature article (Raff & Bolnick 2014)

Hypothetical migration events of early Americans. Image taken from Nature article (Raff & Bolnick 2014)

The remains of a young boy buried in Montana 12,600 years ago has revealed the ancestry of one of the earliest populations in America, the Clovis culture. this was discoverd by sequencing the genome of the remains and show that all the indigenous populations across America are descended from a single group which crossed the Bering land bridge. This genome is the first from an ancient American individual to be fully sequenced and it was found that the mitochondrial DNA belongs to a lineage which is thought to be one of the founding lineages carried by the first individuals into America.

Although this research is extremely interesting and useful from a human migration perspective it has had to handle ethical issues surrounding the remains of Native Americans. To attempt to avoid this the leader of the research, Eske Willerslev, wanted to involve Native American communities. By doing this, and others taking a similar approach, perhaps more remains may be examined in the future to build on our understanding of past human migrations.

Read the news article in Nature for more information about addressing how the Native Americans were involved in this research. For more insight into the conclusions drawn from the sequesnced read the full Nature article.

 

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