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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Scientists Partnering With Indigenous Communities for Genomics Research

Scientists are interested in studying the DNA of Indigenous populations because it can lead to discoveries, such as when their ancestors first arrived on the continent and where they originally came from. Genomics research can also shed light on the genetic basis of disease.

But early in his career, University of Illinois anthropologist Ripan Malhi (CGRH, GNDP, IGOH, RBTE) said he recognized there was a lack of trust between scientists and Indigenous communities.

Two Ancient populations diverged in the Americas later ‘reconverged’

A new genetic study of ancient individuals in the Americas and their contemporary descendants finds that two populations that diverged from one another 18,000 to 15,000 years ago remained apart for millennia before mixing again. This historic “reconvergence” occurred before or during their expansion to the southern continent.

For First Nations peoples, effects of European contact recorded in genome

A study of the genomes of 25 individuals who lived 1,000 to 6,000 years ago on the north coast of present-day British Columbia, and 25 of their descendants who still live in the region today, opens a new window on the catastrophic consequences of European colonization for indigenous peoples in that part of the world.

The study is reported in the journal Nature Communications.

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