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miscegenation

Migrations stored in genes

Daniel BuenoHistorical events like trade, invasions, migrations and slavery are the sources of human miscegenation and leave genetic scars. With this in mind, a group of researchers from the UK and Germany have developed a statistical method using the information contained in DNA fragments typical of each population. These fragments become smaller and smaller over the generations because of genetic recombination between paternal and maternal genetic material, which allows the addition of a time estimate to the genealogy based on these fragments. The technique allowed researchers to develop an atlas of the history of human miscegenation, available here. About one hundred events that occurred over the last 4,000 years can be explained by recorded history, whereas many others must be investigated. One example is the introduction of African DNA in populations in the southern Mediterranean and the Middle East between 650 and 1900, which could coincide with the slave trade beginning in the 600s. The Suruí and Karitiana tribes, in Rondônia, Brazil, are on the map, but no strong indicators of miscegenation were detected. The article, published in the journal Science on February 14, 2014, provides a new source of information for historians.

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