Study reveals some Native DNA in African American populations

The singer Beyonce claims Native and Creole ancestry from her mother's family in Louisiana. A new DNA analysis confirms Native Americans contributed more of their DNA to African populations in the state. Still image from YouTube

A new genetic analysis of more than 3,700 African Americans reveals their Native ancestry.

But the amount was relatively low -- the ancestors of the average African American were just 1.2 percent Native American, The New York Times reported. Based on the length of the DNA segments, that likely means mixing between African and Native populations occurred long ago, probably in the early 1600s, according to researchers.

"The lack of longer Native American segments nevertheless suggests that most Native American ancestry in African-Americans results from contact in the early days of slavery," researchers wrote in PLOS Genetics.

On the other hand, the ancestors of the average African American were 16.7 percent European. Researchers concluded that the mixing occurred more recently -- in the decades prior to the Civil War.

The exception to the low Native ancestry presence was found in Louisiana. Their DNA showed longer segments of both Native and European ancestry than in other states.

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Tales of African-American History Found in DNA (The New York Times 5/28)

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