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Occupation of the Americas

Amerindian genome

Brazilian and Portuguese researchers have sequenced the genome of an indigenous inhabitant of South America, an Amerindian, for the first time.  The genetic material was obtained from a man from an Amazonian tribe.  His genes show similarities with populations in East Asia and Australian Aborigines (PLOS One, December 2013).  These results support the most accepted hypotheses on the settlement of the Americas, according to which groups from Asia came to America through the Bering Strait and then spread.  According to Sidney dos Santos, of the Federal University of Pará, one of the authors of the article, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon remained isolated for a long time, “accumulating unique mutations that should be investigated.”  The results may improve our understanding of the origins of diseases common among South American Indians.