Tech UPTechnologyGirl's DNA Reveals Unknown Native American Population

Girl's DNA Reveals Unknown Native American Population

In the local language, her name means ‘girl of the dawn’, and although she only lived for six fleeting weeks, she has already told scientists more than we knew about the first Native Americans.

Sunrise girl-child (“Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay”) lived about 11,500 years ago in what we now know as Alaska, and her ancient DNA reveals not only the origins of Native American society, it reveals to the world a whole population of people forgotten by history millennia ago.

“We didn’t know this population existed,” says anthropologist Ben Potter of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The first American settlers are believed to have crossed Alaska from Siberia via the Beringia Land Bridge, a land bridge that was submerged at the end of the last ice age.

What is less clear is who these people were, how many groups made the trip, and how they settled on the new continent. That’s where the ‘little dawn’ comes in.

The remains of the girl, and those of another ancient baby known as “Yełkaanenh T’eede Gaay” (dawn twilight girl), were found by Potter and his colleagues at an archaeological site in interior Alaska called the Upward Sun River during excavations in 2013.

In the current study, which the journal Nature collects this week, the experts state that the genetic analysis of the girl’s DNA shows that she belonged to a forgotten people (Ancient Beringians), unknown until now by science.

And, until now, there were only two recognized branches of the first Native Americans (known as North and South). But, when sequencing the Dawn Girl’s genome, the complete genetic profile of a New World human did not match his.

Using genetic analysis and demographic modeling, the scientists concluded that a single founding ancestral group of Native Americans separated from East Asians about 35,000 years ago, most likely somewhere in Northeast Asia.

At some point these people are suspected of moving in a single mass migration to North America and some 15,000 years later the population split into two groups.

One of the groups became the Ancient Beringians; the other group were the ancestors of all other Native Americans, although it remains possible that this division was already occurring before the Beringia Bridge was crossed.

is the first time that we have direct genomic evidence that all Native Americans can be traced back to a population of origin , through a single foundational migration event,” says Eske Willerslev, evolutionary geneticist at the University of Cambridge in the UK. .

Life would not have been easy for them in such an extreme climate, but the population as a whole, separated from those who traveled to other parts of the New World, lasted for thousands of years before finally being absorbed by other Native American populations.

In light of this new discovery, it is clear that the early settlers of America had a more diverse lineage than we thought.


Referencia: Terminal Pleistocene Alaskan genome reveals first founding population of Native Americans. J. Víctor Moreno-Mayar, mBen A. Potter, Lasse Vinner, Matthias Steinrücken, Simon Rasmussen, Jonathan Terhorst, John A. Kamm, Anders Albrechtsen, Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, Martin Sikora, Joshua D. Reuther, Joel D. Irish, Ripan S. Malhi, Ludovic Orlando, Yun S. Song, Rasmus Nielsen, David J. Meltzer & Eske Willerslev Nature 2018 DOI: doi: 10.1038 / nature25173


Image credit: Eric S. Carlson and Ben Potter


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