Northwest Passage: Americas populated via Alaska, genetics show

12:10pm, November 28, 2007

A single population of prehistoric Siberians crossed the Bering Strait into Alaska and subsequently fanned out to populate North and South America, according to a new genetic analysis of present-day indigenous Americans.

The study also hints that early Americans reached Central and South America by migrating down the Pacific coast by land or sea and only later spread into the interior of South America.

"We have good evidence that a single migration [from Siberia] contributed a large fraction of the ancestry of the Americas," says population geneticist Noah Rosenberg of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who led the large international study team.

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