Biotechnology

Ten years of ancient genome analysis have taught scientists “the meaning of being human.”

At a press conference in 2015, the late Jim Boyd of the Colville Union tribe presented the results of a DNA analysis of Ancient One’s Kennewick Man. Credits: Linus Mørk / Magus Film

The 4,000-year-old hair spheres entwined around the whale comb first led to the reconstruction of the ancient human genome over a decade ago.


Hair preserved in the permafrost of the Arctic in Greenland was collected in the 1980s and stored in a Danish museum. It was in 2010 that evolutionary biologist Professor Eske Willerslev was able to use pioneering shotgun DNA sequencing to reconstruct the genetic history of hair.

He realized that the settlement in Greenland, known as the Saqqaq culture, came from the earliest known men. This was the first time scientists had recovered the entire ancient human genome.

Currently, the first decade of reviews of ancient genomics in the Americas Nature Today, Professor Willerslev, Fellow of St. John’s College, University of Cambridge and Director of the Landbeck Foundation Geogenetics Center at the University of Copenhagen, and Professor David Melzer, an archaeologist based at Southern Methodist University, Texas, are working on the ancient genome. How did the world’s first analysis of Copenhagen cause an incredible “decade of discovery”?

Professor Willerslev said: “The last decade has been a surprise in understanding Settlement of the Americas. Feeling like a kid waiting for the exciting DNA I’m trying to unravel at Christmas. The spirit is how resilient and competent the early humans we sequenced our DNA were.

“We were taught at school that people remain in place until the population reaches a level where they run out of resources, but people are spreading around the world just to explore, discover and adventure. I found out.

“In the last decade, we have learned a lot about our history and what it means to be human. The depth of human experience on this planet is never seen again. Human adaptation. It teaches us a lot about sexuality and human behavior. “

For decades, scientists have relied on archaeological discoveries to reconstruct the past, and theories have not always been accurate. It was previously thought that there were early non-Native Americans in the Americas, but ancient DNA analysis to date has found that all ancient ruins found are more modern Native American than any other population. It has been shown to be closely related. world.

The 4,000-year-old hair spheres entwined around the whale comb first led to the reconstruction of the ancient human genome over a decade ago. Hair preserved in the permafrost of the Arctic in Greenland was collected in the 1980s and stored in a Danish museum. It was in 2010 that evolutionary biologist Professor Eske Willerslev was able to use pioneering shotgun DNA sequencing to reconstruct the genetic history of hair. He realized that the settlement in Greenland, known as the Saqqaq culture, came from the earliest known men. This was the first time scientists had recovered the entire ancient human genome.Currently, the first decade of reviews of ancient genomics in the Americas Nature Today (June 16, 2021), Professor Willerslev, Fellow of St. John’s College, University of Cambridge and Director of the Landbeck Foundation Geogenetics Center at the University of Copenhagen, and Professor David Melzer, Archaeologist at Southern Methodist University, I wrote it. The University of Texas Methodist shows how the world’s first analysis of the ancient genome caused an incredible “decade of discovery.”Credits: University of Cambridge, St. John’s College

Professor Melzer, who worked on the review when Professor Willerslev was a visiting scholar at Beaufort at St. John’s University, added: The history of the human population has been much more complex than previously thought.

“Much of what was discovered about Settlement of the Americas was unpredictable. We have seen people move rapidly around the world when they have their own continent. There was nothing to prevent them. The selective advantage of seeing what happened on the next hill. “

In 2013, scientists mapped the genome of a 4-year-old boy who died in South Central Siberia 24,000 years ago. The burial of a Siberian child in the Upper Paleolithic period was discovered in the 1920s by Russian archaeologists near the village of Malta along the Belaya River. Sequencing the Maltese genome was important because it showed the presence of previously unsampled populations that contributed to the ancestors of the Siberian and Native American populations.

Two years later, Professor Willerslev and his team published the first ancient Native American genome sequenced from the body of a boy who was ceremonially buried over 12,000 years ago in Ansic, Montana.

In 2015, their ancient genomic analysis was able to solve the mystery of one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever discovered in the Americas and the most controversial Kennewick Man. I did.

The ruins of 9,000 years ago were when legal jurisdiction over the skeleton became the focus of a 10-year proceeding between the United States and five Native American tribes claiming ownership of a man called Ancient One. , Was surrounded by a storm of controversy. Army Corps of Engineers.

Professor Willerslev, who has correctly learned to pay attention to cultural sensitivities when looking for ancient DNA, has spoken with members of the tribal community for much of the past decade, detailing his work and seeking their help. I have come.

This is part of their DNA so that members of the Washington-based Colville tribe, where the bodies were found, can see if Professor Willerslev and his team have a genetic link to them. It means that you have agreed to donate the club. Kennewick Man.

Ten years of ancient genome analysis have taught scientists

Professor Eske Willerslev discusses an individual in the Spirit Cave with Donna and Joey, two members of the Fallon Paiute Shoshone tribe. Credits: Linus Mørk / Magus Film.

Jackie Cook, a descendant of the Colville tribe and an expert in the repatriation of the coalition tribes of the Colville settlement, said: Scientists and our Native American tribe, the hair on my arm was standing up when Eske presented us with his DNA work on Ansic’s children.

“We knew we didn’t have to agree to a DNA test, and there was concern that we would have to do it every time to prove our cultural affiliation, but our council members did it. I talked with the elders and wanted to donate DNA for research. “

The Kennewick genome has revealed that, like Ansic’s baby, he is a direct ancestor of living Native Americans. Ancient One was officially returned to the tribe and re-burial.

Cook added, “I took the risk, but it worked. It was amazing to work with Eske, and I was honored and relieved to be able to resolve such an important case. I felt humble. It’s a lesson for thousands of years that we call the Coyote story. These stories are from ancestors who lived with wool mammoths and witnessed a series of floods and volcanoes erupting. As a tribe, we have always embraced science, but not all history is discovered through science. “

A study led by Professor Willerslev was also able to identify the origin of the world’s oldest natural mummy, called the Spirit Cave. Scientists discovered the ancient human skeleton in 1940, but it wasn’t until 2018 that impressive discoveries were made that uncovered the secrets of the Ice Age tribes of the Americas.

This revelation is part of a genetic analysis of the DNA of a series of famous and controversial archaeological sites in the Americas, including Spirit Cave, Lovelock Skeleton, Lagoa Santa Ruins, Inca Mummy, and Chile’s oldest ruins. I was struck. Patagonia.

Scientists have sequenced 15 ancient genomes from Alaska to Patagonia, the first human movements to spread to the Americas at “amazing” rates during the Ice Age, and how during the next millennia. I was able to track how they interacted with.

Not only did a team of scholars discover that the site of Spirit Cave was Native American, but they were also able to dismiss the long-standing theory that a group called Paleo American existed in North America before Native Americans. Spirit Cave was returned to the Nevada-based Native American group Fallon Paiute-Shoshone for burial.

“In the last decade, human history has changed radically thanks to ancient genomic analysis, and incredible discoveries are just beginning,” added Willerslev.


The DNA of the world’s oldest natural mummy uncovers the secrets of the Ice Age tribes of the Americas


For more information:
Settlement of the Americas, inferred from ancient genomics Nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-03499-y , www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03499-y

Quote: After 10 years of ancient genome analysis, scientists read “The Meaning of Being a Human” (June 16, 2021) https://phys.org/news/2021-06-ten-years-ancient-genome Obtained from June 16, 2021. -analysis.html

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https://phys.org/news/2021-06-ten-years-ancient-genome-analysis.html Ten years of ancient genome analysis have taught scientists “the meaning of being human.”

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