In DepthGenetics

'Extinct' Caribbeans have living descendants

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Science  23 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6378, pp. 858
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6378.858

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Jorge Estevez grew up in the Dominican Republic and New York City hearing stories about his native Caribbean ancestors from his mother and grandmother. But when he told his teachers that he is Taino, an indigenous Caribbean, they said that was impossible. Many scientists and historians continue to believe the Taino were wiped out by disease, slavery, and other brutal consequences of European colonization without passing down any genes to people in the Caribbean today. But a new genetic study of a 1000-year-old skeleton from the Bahamas shows that at least one modern Caribbean population is related to the region's precontact indigenous people, offering direct molecular evidence against the idea of Taino "extinction."