Native Americans Descended from One?

October 27th, 2009 in History Happening Today by Tracey McCormick

One wouldn’t think that a study entitled, “Haplotypic Background of a Private Allele at High Frequency in the Americas,” would have much bearing on the history of North and South America. But it does.

As long as I’ve been a student of history, the Bering Strait landbridge migration has explained how the Native Americans got to the New World. Then, over thousands of years, they continued to walk – east and south, until they reached Greenland (ok, maybe canoed) or Chile, respectively. The waves of migrations took thousands of years. These migration waves account for the different languages and customs of the eventual settlements.

A twenty-year study has some additional findings: the DNA of migrant Natives are more like each other than they are like Asian populations. What this points to is an initial migration out of Asia, then a semi-permanent settlement, then other waves of migration. The semi-permanent settlement lasted thousands of years.

The study was published in the May 2009 issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution, which means it’s all about DNA, mitochondria, and alleles (genetic variants).

So…Native Americans definitely originated from Asia. Then walked across the bridge and hung out for a few thousand years. Then they started walking again.

Now it’s time to figure out where this semi-permanent settlement was…

Genetic Archeology has a synopsis of the findings.

About the Author: Tracey's interests in history range from the ancient Greeks to the medieval monks to the women of the American West. She holds a B.A. in History, Math/Philosophy, and the Classics. When not writing, editing, or teaching, she's out exploring, via her mountain bike, the Anasazi ruins in and around her home state of Colorado.

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