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Genetic Link Between Australasians and South Americans Studied

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL—Science Magazine reports that researchers led by Tábita Hünemeier of the University of São Paulo have detected a genetic signal associated with early people living in South Asia, Australia, and Melanesia in additional populations in South America. A previous study found this so-called “Y signal” in two groups of Indigenous people living in the Amazon. The new study analyzed the genomes of nearly 400 Indigenous peoples living in the middle of South America, and identified the Y signal in people living on the Brazilian plateau in central Brazil, and in the Chotuna people of coastal Peru. The researchers now think that migrants carrying the Y signal southward from Beringia along the coast settled in more of South America than previously thought. The study also suggests that the migrants may have arrived in two separate waves. The Y signal has not been detected in Indigenous people in North and Central America, however. Hünemeier said that carriers of the Y signal in these areas may have been wiped out by the arrival of Europeans, or further study may soon identify the Y signal in additional populations. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. For more on the peopling of the Americas, go to "America, in the Beginning."

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