Native Americans and Northern Europeans more closely related than previously thought

Using genetic analyses, scientists have discovered that Northern European populations—including British, Scandinavians, French, and some Eastern Europeans—descend from a mixture of two very different ancestral populations, and one of these populations is related to Native Americans. This discovery helps fill gaps in scientific understanding of both Native American and Northern European ancestry, while providing an explanation for some genetic similarities among what would otherwise seem to be very divergent groups. This research was published in the November 2012 issue of the Genetics Society of America's journal Genetics.

According to Nick Patterson, first author of the report, "There is a genetic link between the paleolithic population of Europe and modern Native Americans. The evidence is that the population that crossed the from Siberia into the Americas more than 15,000 years ago was likely related to the ancient population of Europe."

To make this discovery, Patterson worked with Harvard Medical School Professor of Genetics David Reich and other colleagues to study DNA diversity, and found that one of these ancestral populations was the first farming population of Europe, whose DNA lives on today in relatively unmixed form in Sardinians and the people of the Basque Country, and in at least the Druze population in the Middle East. The other ancestral population is likely to have been the initial hunter-gathering population of Europe. These two populations were very different when they met. Today the hunter-gathering ancestral population of Europe appears to have its closest affinity to people in far Northeastern Siberia and Native Americans.

The statistical tools for analyzing population mixture were developed by Patterson and presented in a systematic way in the report. These tools are the same ones used in previous discoveries showing that Indian populations are admixed between two highly diverged ancestral populations and showing that contributed one to four percent of the ancestry of present-day Europeans. In addition, the paper releases a major new dataset that characterizes genetic diversity in 934 samples from 53 diverse worldwide populations.

"The human genome holds numerous secrets. Not only does it unlock important clues to cure human disease, it also reveal clues to our prehistoric past," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal GENETICS. "This relationship between humans separated by the Atlantic Ocean reveals surprising features of the migration patterns of our ancestors, and reinforces the truth that all humans are closely related."

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Native American populations descend from three key migrations

More information: Nick Patterson, Priya Moorjani, Yontao Luo, Swapan Mallick, Nadin Rohland, Yiping Zhan, Teri Genschoreck, Teresa Webster, and David Reich, Ancient Admixture in Human History, Genetics, November 2012 Volume 192, pp 1065-1093
Journal information: Genetics

Citation: Native Americans and Northern Europeans more closely related than previously thought (2012, November 30) retrieved 21 August 2019 from
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Nov 30, 2012
Comment? C'est impossible! Mais non, ze French have always been French! Toujours! Neandertal? Jamais!

Dec 01, 2012
Halt de Klappe. The franks were and are germanic. Europe is one big happy family which was pushed westward by the huns and subsequently overran indigenous pops leaving only bits and pieces. Charlemagne held a big family reunion and the rest is history.

Dec 02, 2012
I (at least) certainly didn't expect this, but it doesn't seem all that surprising: a pan-Eurasian population in the grasslands south of the ice, not unlike the way the (pre-industrial) Arctic population was more-or-less a single ethnic group.

Dec 03, 2012
W.J Sidi, genius, came to similar conclusion based on linguists and his study of ancient history, it's in his book Tribes and States, a history of North America from perspective of native north eastern tribes, he apparently knew how to read their form writing, wampum belts.

Sidis " important fact is that there were red men at one time in Europe as well as in America. The most persistent of Europe's cave-dwelling races were the Cro-Magnons, who were physically very much like the red race, and are even shown by some cave paintings in Western Europe as colored red and wearing the same sort of top-feathers as were common among the eastern Algonquins of North America. The Cro-Magnons were mainly located near the Atlantic regions of Europe, though found over most of Europe and northern Africa. The densest Cro-Magnon population appears to have been around the head of the Bay of Biscay, where there is stilspoken a language called Basque, which is totally unrelated to any languag

Dec 03, 2012
spoken a language called Basque, which is totally unrelated to any language on earth, but whose general structure resembles only the red-race languages of America. That this type of language must have once been general through most of Europe is indicated by European place-names; so that, apparently, the language spoken in Europe before the advent of the Aryans must have been one of red-race structure

Dec 03, 2012
        It is quite possible that the first few waves of white invasion of Europe were absorbed by intermarriage, and the white men adopted the red civilization; but, since the red race had not the same immunity as the whites to the numerous germs the latter brought in with them, the newer waves of invasion gradually wiped the red men off the eastern hemisphere, though slowly enough to enable the whites to take over the civilization.

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