Imprimir Republish


DNA of maroon communities is 98% African

Of the descendants of African slaves who escaped from plantations in South America before the abolition of slavery, the DNA of those living in French Guiana and Suriname is most reflective of their ancestry. 98% of their genetic material is from Africa, the continent from which seven million people were forcibly taken to South America between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries (American Journal of Human Genetics, November 2). The high level of African ancestry in the DNA of these maroon communities, many of which have remained genetically isolated for a long time, was discovered in a study by European and South American geneticists. Led by a French team from Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, they analyzed genetic ancestry markers in 231 individuals of African origin: 71 residents of maroon communities in French Guiana and Suriname, 16 African-Brazilians, and 20 African-Colombians, as well as 124 individuals from West Africa. There was a significantly higher amount of non-African DNA among the Brazilian and Colombian populations of the sample (24% and 29%, respectively), who do not live in maroon communities and have historically had more contact with Europeans and native South Americans.