Native Americans, Polynesians shared DNA 800 years ago

12 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Native Americans, Polynesians shared DNA 800 years ago

Native Americans and Polynesians bridged vast expanses of open ocean around the year 1200 and mingled, leaving incontrovertible proof of their encounter in the DNA of present-day populations, scientists revealed on Wednesday.

Whether peoples from what is today Colombia or Ecuador drifted thousands of kilometres to tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific, or whether seafaring Polynesians sailed upwind to South America and then back again is still unknown. But what is certain, according to a study in Nature, is that the hook up took place hundreds of years before Europeans set foot in either region, and left individuals scattered across French Polynesia with signature traces of the New World in their DNA. “These findings change our understanding of one of the most unknown chapters in the history of our species’ great continental expansions,” senior author Andreas Moreno-Estrada, principal investigator at Mexico’s National Laboratory of Genomics for biodiversity, told AFP.


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