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DNA study points to at least three major groups of Indian people

Filed Under: Education | National | Technology | World
More on: dna, languages

Research being published in Nature points to at least three major groups of indigenous people in South America and Canada.

Based on DNA, researchers found three distinct groups. The first represents the ancestors of indigenous people who currently live in South America, according to the study.

The second group represents the ancestors of Canadian Natives who today speak Inuit languages. The third are the ancestors of Athabaskan speakers in Canada, researchers said.

The study was based primarily on DNA from indigenous people in South America. Some samples came from Native people in Canada.

According to the researchers, on average about 8.5 percent of the DNA of Native people came from other races. The non-Native DNA was screened out of their analysis.

The study did not include any genetic material from American Indians in the U.S. The Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society recently asked federally recognized tribes for DNA samples but so far only two have agreed, The New York Times reported.

The Inuit languages of Canada are related to Yupik languages spoken among Alaska Natives in Alaska. The Aleut language in Alaska is also related to Inuit.

The Athabaskan languages in Canada are related to the Dine language of the Navajo Nation and to the Apache language.

Get the Story:
Earliest Americans Arrived in Waves, DNA Study Finds (The New York Times 7/12)
Early Americans Arrived in Three Waves (The Wall Street Journal 7/12)
Study: Native Americans came to the New World in three waves (The New York Times 7/12)
Native Americans migrated to the New World in three waves, Harvard-led DNA analysis shows (The Boston Globe 7/12)

Get the Study:
Reconstructing Native American population history (Nature July 2012)

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