Ancient human parallel lineages within North America contributed to a coastal expansion
Department or Administrative Unit
Anthropology and Museum Studies
The genomes of ancient humans can reveal patterns of early human migration (see the Perspective by Achilli et al.). Iceland has a genetically distinct population, despite relatively recent settlement (∼1100 years ago). Ebenesersdóttir et al. examined the genomes of ancient Icelandic people, dating to near the colonization of Iceland, and compared them with modernday Icelandic populations. The ancient DNA revealed that the founders had Gaelic and Norse origins. Genetic drift since the initial settlement has left modern Icelanders with allele frequencies that are distinctive, although still skewed toward those of their Norse founders. Scheib et al. sequenced ancient genomes from the Channel Islands of California, USA, and Ontario, Canada. The ancient Ontario population was similar to other ancient North Americans, as well as to modern Algonquian-speaking Native Americans. In contrast, the California individuals were more like groups that now live in Mexico and South America. It appears that a genetic split and population isolation likely occurred during the Ice Age, but the peoples remixed at a later date.
Scheib, C. L., Li, H., Desai, T., Link, V., Kendall, C., Dewar, G., Griffith, P. W., Mörseburg, A., Johnson, J. R., Potter, A., Kerr, S. L., Endicott, P., Lindo, J., Haber, M., Xue, Y., Tyler-Smith, C., Sandhu, M. S., Lorenz, J. G., Randall, T. D., … Kivisild, T. (2018). Ancient human parallel lineages within North America contributed to a coastal expansion. Science, 360(6392), 1024–1027. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aar6851
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