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Ancient DNA points to additional New World migration

A 4,000-year-old Greenland man possessed close genetic ties to modern Siberians

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1:11pm, February 10, 2010

A 4,000-year-old Greenland man just entered the scientific debate over the origins of prehistoric populations in the Americas.

A nearly complete sequence of nuclear DNA extracted from strands of the long-dead man’s hair — the first such sequence obtained from an ancient person — highlights a previously unknown and relatively recent migration of northeastern Asians into the New World about 5,500 years ago, scientists say.

An analysis of differences, or mutations, at single base pairs on the ancient Greenlander’s nuclear genome indicates that his father’s ancestors came from northeastern Siberia, report geneticist Morten Rasmussen of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen and his colleagues in the Feb. 11 Nature. Three modern hunter-gatherer groups in that region — the Nganasans, Koryaks and Chukchis — display a closer genetic link to the Greenland individual than do Native American groups living in c

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