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Genetic Link Found Between Ancient & Modern First Nations

Friday, July 05, 2013


URBANA, ILLINOIS—Molecular anthropologist Ripan Malhi of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign compared mitochondrial DNA samples taken from ancient human teeth found on the northern coast of British Columbia, Canada, with samples from living members of First Nations tribes that reside in the same area. “We’re finding links that tie maternal lineages from as far back as the mid-Holocene 5,000 years ago to living descendants living today in Native American communities,” he explained. Archaeological evidence also suggests that the region has been occupied for the past 5,000 years. Malhi and his team are now working with the Tsimshian, Haida, and Nisga’a tribes to see how the genetic information lines up with their oral histories.