Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ancient skeletons show direct link to modern tribes in the Pacific Northwest

Ancient skeletons show direct link to modern tribes in the Pacific Northwest    

After 21 years of a group of archeologist and anthropologist working together to uncover the true decedents of the Native American tribes in the Pacific North, a team of geneticists were able to extract nuclear DNA form a 10,300-year-old skeleton named Shuka Kaa who could shed some light on the lineages of these natives. The Native Americans who reside in the Pacific Northwest claim to have what they call “deep roots” to the region, being there from the very beginning before anyone else, and now new genetic information can prove that they were right all along. The geneticists were allowed to use the last remaining tissue from the skeletons molars, they also looked the teeth of a 6,075-year old skeleton, and that of a 2,500-year skeleton from a very close by island. Even though the DNA was severely damaged they were still able to sequence markers for about 6% of its genome, as well as two-thirds of the genomes of the other skeletons that were looked at. The markers were then compared to that of 156 indigenous groups worldwide, and found that the younger skeletons of 6,075 and 2,500 year olds were closely related to several tribes living in the Pacific Northwest. However, Shuka Kaa seemed more closely related to tribes living in South and Central America. This could simply show that all the tribes share DNA form the same ancient ancestor in Asia before anyone came to the Americas.  Shaku Kaa’s mtDNA and Nuclear DNA both suggest that he is very closely related to the other two younger skeletons looked at in this study.
As discussed in class as well as in an article by the New York Times, mtDNA or mitochondrial DNA contains only 37 of the 20,000 to 25,000 protein-coding genes in our body. It of course only comes from the mother, unlike the nuclear DNA that was collected which comes from both parents. Overall this research is important because it is important to know where we came from and the truths of our lineage. Ones true family history is often times unknown and changes as generations pass and people migrate.

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of what we are learning in class when we went over how to extract DNA from a skeleton. I think that is is important to understand our history and is amazing how after all these years scientist are still able to extract DNA in order to identify someone and their origin.