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Dispatch: DNA research helps understand how the Americas were first populated

April 3, 2017 — 

As the Columbus Dispatch reports

Human history is written in our DNA.

Biological anthropologists Connie Mulligan, of the University of Florida, and Emőke Szathmáry, of the University of Manitoba, consider how genetics informs our current understanding of the population history of the Americas in the latest issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology….

Mulligan and Szathmáry suggest that one reason American Indians might have been reluctant to become involved in genetic research is that the results commonly are framed in ways that many find “threatening to their identity and interests.”

As an example, Mulligan and Szathmáry suggest that the use of the term “migration” to describe the initial movement of peoples from Asia into the Americas can be interpreted to imply that indigenous Americans are simply another immigrant population with no special rights to the lands their ancestors were the first to discover.

Mulligan and Szathmáry suggest we stop using the word “migration” to describe a process that involved “occupation over several millennia of a consolidated Asian-American land mass, where people differentiated from their source populations, evolving the molecular genetic markers that identify their descendants today as ‘American.’ ”

 

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