Aztecs and Incas genetically related to peoples of Russia

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An international group of geneticists has shown that the Aztecs, Incas, and Iroquois are close relatives of the peoples of Altai, a region of Russia located between Central Siberia, China, and Mongolia.

Scientists have long known that American Indians are closely related to the Altai peoples. The hypothesis about the migration of the Altaic peoples from Siberia through Chukotka, in northeastern Russia, and Alaska continuing south to Tierra del Fuego appeared a century ago. Since then, researchers from different universities around the world have tried to prove it.

At the end of 2015, the Russian geneticist Oleg Balanovski put an end to this question.

The search for Siberian genes among the Indians

In 2013, the two most prestigious scientific journals in the world, Nature and Science, published articles on the analysis of the complete genome of American Indians and their Siberian ancestors. These were compared with those of the population of all regions of the world.

In the first investigation, the genomes of 48 people from Brazil were studied. In the second, 31 population genomes from all of America and Siberia.

In both investigations, it was confirmed that the ancestors of the American Indians arrived on the continent about 20,000-30,000 years ago from Siberia.

After the publication of these articles, Balanovski decided to carry out a larger-scale study.

The biobank: 25,000 DNA samples from 90 ethnic groups

During the first stage of the investigation, scientists analyzed DNA samples. “In our biobank, we have more than 25,000 samples from members of 90 ethnic groups from Russia and neighboring countries,” Balanovski told RBTH.

In the second stage, different markers of the DNA obtained from the blood samples were analyzed: the Y chromosome, which is inherited through the male line, the mitochondrial DNA, which is transmitted through the female line, and other chromosomes that are combined between the two parents.

As a result, scientists have been able to ensure that the American Indians are genetically related to the Altai peoples. But during the investigation, another discovery has been made. “In addition to the Siberian ancestors, in some Indians, we have found a mysterious relationship with the population of Australia and Melanesia, islands that are in the Pacific Ocean. It is something surprising since these regions are practically in the antipodes”, clarifies Balanovski.

How did the Indians get to America?

Scientists have already found out what was the route by which the Indians came to America from Altai. “The place that now occupies the Bering Strait used to be able to cross on foot. During the glaciation, the water turned into ice and the level of the world ocean dropped,” explains Balanovski.

The expert adds that for now, it is not clear whether the migration from Australia and Melanesia occurred by sea or by land through the Aleutian chain of islands. Archaeologists are still trying to unravel this question.

“This research confirms the hypothesis that the Altai peoples are relatives of the American Indians. We have managed to find irrefutable proof of this,” says geneticist Valeri Ilinski, a researcher at the Institute of General Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Source: es.rbth.com

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