Studies hint that genetic diversity among Native Americans may rival that seen in some African populations
BOSTON — One Mexican-American person’s genome shows just how little is known about human genetic diversity in the Americas.
Researchers recently compiled the complete genetic instruction books for two people of mixed ethnic ancestry — a Mexican-American and an African-American. Carlos Bustamante of Stanford University School of Medicine reported the accomplishment June 12 at Genetics 2010: Model Organisms to Human Biology, a meeting of the Genetics Society of America.
Not surprisingly, analyses of the two people’s DNA revealed genomes that reflect the people’s mixed ancestry. The African-American person has genetic roots in both West Africa and Europe, while the Mexican-American carries the genetic legacies of both Native American and European ancestors.
More unexpectedly, fine-scale DNA analysis shows that Native Americans may have as much genetic diversity as some African populations known to have a great deal of genetic diversity.