Menu

Arctic Expansion

Genetic analysis reveals the history of the earliest human migrations in the region.

Sep 2, 2014
Jyoti Madhusoodanan

FLICKR, NASA GODDARDThe Arctic’s earliest human inhabitants migrated into the region from Siberia approximately 6,000 years ago. These so called Paleo-Eskimo peoples lived in isolation—despite periodic migrations of other populations—before suddenly vanishing 700 years ago, according to a study published last week (August 29) in Science.

This genetic analysis of 169 ancient and present-day humans used museum specimens of bones, teeth, and hair from Alaska, Canada, and Greenland; the researchers, led by Maanasa Raghavan and Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, also sequenced the genomes of modern-day Native American, Inuit, and Aleutian Islander families to enable comparative analyses.

Their results showed that Paleo-Eskimos spread into the Arctic independent of Native American and Inuit migrations. Although it periodically abandoned the area, this Paleo-Eskimo population lived there in near-isolation for almost 4,000 years before disappearing. The team’s analyses also showed that modern-day Inuits are not directly related to these earliest settlers, suggesting that the ancient Paleo-Eskimo lineage did not vanish simply due to interbreeding.

“Elsewhere, as soon as people meet each other, they have sex,” Willerslev told National Geographic. “Even potentially different species like Neanderthals [and modern humans] had sex, so this finding is extremely surprising.”

Instead, this population may have developed medical problems as a result of continuous inbreeding, which may have contributed to their eventual extinction, Willerslev told The New York Times. Another potential factor may have been climate change, as periodic fluctuations of even a few degrees could cause a loss of marine food resources.

“By using genetics and genomics, they were able to answer questions that archaeologists have been trying to solve for decades,” anthropologist Todd Disotell of New York University who was not involved in the research told the New York Times. “With genetics, you’re looking at the ancient people themselves, not their refuse, so to speak.”

January 2019

Cannabis on Board

Research suggests ill effects of cannabinoids in the womb

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

WIN a VIAFLO 96/384 to supercharge your microplate pipetting!
WIN a VIAFLO 96/384 to supercharge your microplate pipetting!
INTEGRA Biosciences is offering labs the chance to win a VIAFLO 96/384 pipette. Designed to simplify plate replication, plate reformatting or reservoir-to-plate transfers, the VIAFLO 96/384 allows labs without the space or budget for an expensive pipetting robot to increase the speed and throughput of routine tasks.
FORMULATRIX® digital PCR technology to be acquired by QIAGEN
FORMULATRIX® digital PCR technology to be acquired by QIAGEN
FORMULATRIX has announced that their digital PCR assets, including the CONSTELLATION® series of instruments, is being acquired by QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN, Frankfurt Stock Exchange: QIA) for up to $260 million ($125 million upfront payment and $135 million of milestones).  QIAGEN has announced plans for a global launch in 2020 of a new series of digital PCR platforms that utilize the advanced dPCR technology developed by FORMULATRIX combined with QIAGEN’s expertise in assay development and automation.
Application of CRISPR/Cas to the Generation of Genetically Engineered Mice
Application of CRISPR/Cas to the Generation of Genetically Engineered Mice
With this application note from Taconic, learn about the power that the CRISPR/Cas system has to revolutionize the field of custom mouse model generation!
Translational Models of Obesity, Dysmetabolism, Diabetes, and Complications
Translational Models of Obesity, Dysmetabolism, Diabetes, and Complications
This webinar, from Crown Bioscience, presents a unique continuum of translational dysmetabolic platforms that more closely mimic human disease. Learn about using next-generation rodent and spontaneously diabetic non-human primate models to accurately model human-relevant disease progression and complications related to obesity and diabetes here!