Research NewsHuman Genetics

Genes May Link Ancient Eurasians, Native Americans

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Science  24 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5363, pp. 520
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5363.520

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Anthropologists have recently been puzzled by surprising features on a handful of ancient American skeletons that resemble those of Europeans rather than Asians, the presumed ancestors of the first people to cross the Bering Strait into the Americas. Now a new genetic study may link Native Americans and people of Europe and the Middle East, offering tantalizing support to a controversial theory that a band of people who originally lived in Europe or Asia Minor were among this continent's first settlers. The new data come from studies of a genetic marker called Lineage X, which has been found both in living Native Americans and in certain groups in Europe and Asia Minor, including Italians, Finns, and certain Israelis--but not in any Asian population.