Towards the origin of America’s first settlers
|Professor Daniel Turbon is expert on on molecular and forensic anthropology and the origin and evolution of hominids [Credit: Universidad de Barcelona]|
A new genetic study of South American natives, published on the journal PLOS Genetics, provides scientific evidence to reformulate the traditional model and define new theories of human settlement of the Americas.
Professor Daniel Turbon, from the Department of Animal Biology of the University of Barcelona, is one of the authors of this international research, led by Lutz Roewer (Charite -- University Medicine, Berlin). Eduardo Arroyo-Pardo and Ana Maria Lopez Parra (Complutense University of Madrid) also sign the paper.
Which was the earliest well-established culture in America?
This new research is based on the analysis of male Y-chromosomal genetic markers in about one thousand individuals, representing 50 tribal South American native populations.
|According to the research, the extant genetic structure of South America native populations is largely decoupled from the continent-wide linguistic and geographic relationships [Credit: Universidad de Barcelona]|
Profesor Daniel Turbon, expert on molecular and forensic anthropology and the origin and evolution of hominids, states that "Probably, America is one of the most recent examples of human settlement of a large continent. For scientists, it constitutes an excellent laboratory to compare the methodological tools used on genetic and population studies. Even if it has been widely held, the hypothesis of a single migration movement to explain the origin of America's settlers is a reductionist view which is more and more questioned."
Studies of Y-chromosomal markers
Authors analysed the genetic variation of every male individual by means of a series of Y-chromosomal genetic markers: to be exact, 919 subjects (91 % of the total) were typed for the 16 most common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in South America, and for the 17 short tandem repeat (STR) most widely used in forensic anthropology. The analysis of polymorphisms enabled to determine each individual's geographical origin and to compare these data with other populations from North and Central America.
|Image of a native community from Bolivian Amazon studied on the doctoral theses developed by the experts Francesc Bert and Alfons Corella at the UB [Credit: Francesc Bert/Universidad de Barcelona]|
|The research also identifies a lineage which has not been described to date in North and Central American populations [Credit: Francesc Bert/Universidad de Barcelona]|
Native communities in danger of extinction
The paper also identifies lineage which has not been described to date in North and Central American populations: C-M217 (C3*) haplotype, which occur at high frequency in Asia. Moreover, experts detected a Polynesian lineage in Peru.
"In the future, it would be essential to find an archaeological site which has a continuous archaeological sequence. Furthermore, it would be necessary to develop a complete genetic study of native populations as their danger of extinction is increasing day by day," concludes Professor Turbon.
Source: Universidad de Barcelona [April 17, 2013]
Labels Americas, Ancient, Anthropology, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Genetics, Indigenous Cultures, North America, South America