Ancient DNA Links Native Americans With Europe

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Where did the first Americans come from? Most researchers agree that Paleoamericans moved across the Bering Land Bridge from Asia sometime before 15,000 years ago, suggesting roots in East Asia. But just where the source populations arose has long been a mystery.

Now comes a surprising twist, from the complete nuclear genome of a Siberian boy who died 24,000 years ago—the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date. His DNA shows close ties to those of today's Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia. The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today's Native Americans can be traced to "western Eurasia," with the other two-thirds coming from eastern Asia, according to a talk at a meeting* here by ancient DNA expert Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen. It also implies that traces of European ancestry previously detected in modern Native Americans do not come solely from mixing with European colonists, as most scientists had assumed, but have much deeper roots.

"I'm still processing that Native Americans are one-third European," says geneticist Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida in Gainesville. "It's jaw-dropping." At the very least, says geneticist Dennis O'Rourke of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, "this is going to stimulate a lot of discussion."

continue to source article at sciencemag.org

10 COMMENTS

  1. It is often hard to tell indigenous people in Canada from immigrants from the east coast of Asia. The indigenous people of the west coast of North America look most like Asians.

    I have noticed that people of different races smell different. This might be part of the root of prejudice. It might be caused by diet or by which species of skin bacteria attach themselves. I noticed that I picked up the fruity odour of black people when I had a black boyfriend. Indigenous people and Chinese people smell quite different.

  2. I am trying to recall a study from some years ago, which showed that DNA in a small minority of tribes on the east-coast of America came from what is now France. The theory was, that they had migrated across the Atlantic along the edge of the Arctic ice-pack during an ice age, – using an Inuit lifestyle.

    • In reply to #4 by Alan4discussion:

      I am trying to recall a study from some years ago, which showed that DNA in a small minority of tribes on the east-coast of America came from what is now France.

      You might be confusing DNA with flint. Easy mistake.

      We once talked at length about Europeans migrating along the ice ,around 20kya, regarding a book review: They claimed that tools found in N.E America were more Solutrean style than Clovis and that the flint had to have come from France.

      I wonder what happened to that idea.

      • In reply to #5 by chris 116:

        You might be confusing DNA with flint. Easy mistake.
        .
        We once talked at length about Europeans migrating along the ice ,around 20kya, regarding a book review: They claimed that tools found in N.E America were more Solutrean style than Clovis and that the flint had to have come from France.

        I wonder what happened to that idea.

        It looks like you could be right. Recent evidence seems to challenge the Solutrean hypothesis.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solutrean-hypothesis

        Stanford and Bradley, in their book Across Atlantic Ice, muster a range of evidence in support of the Solutrean hypothesis. They cite similarities between artifacts of the Clovis culture and certain finds from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware. In addition, they claim to be able to carbon-date many new discoveries from the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland to between 26,000 and 19,000 BC—the period in which comparable artifacts were being created in Europe. According to their book, no materials of human manufacture from before 15,000 years BP have been found on the West Coast anywhere near the time that the Siberian ancestors of the Amerinds are thought to have first crossed into the New World.

        Recent genetic research

        Distribution of Haplogroup X, strongest in Anatolia, Europe, and the North-Eastern coast of America.

        Supporters of the Solutrean hypothesis had pointed to the presence of haplogroup X, the global distribution of which is strongest in Anatolia and the northeast of America, a pattern supposedly consistent with their position. Michael Brown in a 1998 article identified this as evidence of a possible Caucasian founder population of early Americans spreading from the northeast coast.[7]

        But a 2008 article in the American Journal of Human Genetics by researchers in Brazil took up the argument against the Solutrean hypothesis. “Our results strongly support the hypothesis that haplogroup X, together with the other four main mtDNA haplogroups, was part of the gene pool of a single Native American founding population; therefore they do not support models that propose haplogroup-independent migrations, such as the migration from Europe posed by the Solutrean hypothesis.

        Perhaps the OP is offering an alternative route for haplogroup X.

      • In reply to #5 by chris 116:

        We once talked at length about Europeans migrating along the ice ,around 20kya, regarding a book review: They claimed that tools found in N.E America were more Solutrean style than Clovis and that the flint had to have come from France.

        I once saw a program, on PBS, I believe, about mtDNA testing in the Americas. Supposedly about a quarter of the mtDNA found in indigenous groups was of European origin. The show then went into this huge speculation about an ice bridge from Europe to the Americas, though it always seemed like it would make more sense that people from Europe migrated to Asia and intermingled with people there before their descendants crossed over into the Americas. That program was on over 10 years ago, though, so my recollection of details may be a bit fuzzy.

  3. The fact that we exist as a species at all is of course a matter of chance, so it follows that differences in what we term for want of a better word “race” have been determined by coincidental migrations, albeit that envirenmental pressures made moving from one location to another necessary. Doubtless that most common element in the make up of humans curiosity also played a part.

    It’s important to disseminate these facts as widely as possible to counter racism, although most racists are probably too thick to understand half of it; is that last a prejudiced remark? No! Because it’s not a priori but a posteriori, or, based on evidence after the fact.

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