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DNA reveals details of the peopling of the Americas

Migrants came in three distinct waves that interbred once in the New World

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2:22pm, August 12, 2013

The first people to settle the Americas had a distinctive genetic style, and additional waves of migrants added regional flair, a new analysis of mitochondrial DNA from Native Americans from Canada and the United States suggests.

About 15,000 to 18,000 years ago, the first migrant wave spilled from Asia down the Pacific coast and then pushed inland, eventually peopling the land from “the tip of South America all the way to Hudson Bay,” says Andrew Kitchen, a genetic anthropologist at the University of Iowa who was not involved in the new research. That first migrant wave contained the ancestors of all South and Central American tribes, and North Americans, too. But something different was going on in North America, an international team of researchers has discovered.

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