Americas ‘Settled in Three Waves’: Native American DNA Has Concluded

The biggest survey of Native American DNA has concluded that the New World was settled in three major waves.

Americas ‘Settled in Three Waves’

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Most indigenous Americans are descended from a single group of migrants, but later waves of people made important contributions
Most indigenous Americans are descended from a single group of migrants, but later waves of people made important contributions

The biggest survey of Native American DNA has concluded that the New World was settled in three major waves. But most today’s indigenous Americans descend from a single group of migrants that crossed from Asia to Alaska 15,000 years ago or more. Previous genetic data have lent support to the idea that America was colonised by a single migrant wave. An international team of researchers have published their findings in the journal Nature. “For years it has been contentious whether the settlement of the Americas occurred by means of a single or multiple migration from Siberia,” said co-author Prof Andres Ruiz-Linares from University College London (UCL). “But our research settles this debate: Native Americans do not stem from a single migration. Our study also begins to cast light on patterns of human dispersal within the Americas.” The team analysed data from 52 Native American and 17 Siberian groups, studying more than 300,000 variations in their DNA known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs.

This allowed them to examine patterns of genetic similarities and differences between the population groups.

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