Geneticists have recently uncovered some new information about the pre-colonial history of the Americas with the help of DNA from the indigenous Ashaninka people from Amazonian Peru. This breakthrough is allowing us to gain a better understanding of the genetic contributions of these Indigenous groups and to trace their migratory paths and origins.
The task of reconstructing the ancient genetic history of the Americas is no easy task, as European colonization during the second half of the last millennium had a significant and long-lasting impact on the continent. In order to uncover more details about the Indigenous American groups, geneticists rely heavily on ancient DNA, as well as DNA from living individuals belonging to Indigenous groups.
The Ashaninka are an Arawakan-speaking group and the largest Indigenous group from the Amazonian areas of Peru. The research used to uncover the pre-colonial history of the Americas was based on mitochondrial DNA from 113 Ashaninkans, which was compared to various other Indigenous American populations.
The results of the study show that the Ashaninka have ancient origins in South America and are closely related to other Indigenous groups from the area. The DNA analysis also suggests that the Ashaninka have experienced some genetic mixture with Caribbean populations, most likely as a result of contact between the two groups during the colonization period. It is believed that the Caribbeans traded with the Indigenous South American tribes, resulting in exchanges of genes between the two populations.
In conclusion, this recent study provides us with a better understanding of the pre-colonial history of the Americas and the sort of genetic contribution Indigenous Americans have been making over the centuries. Professor Achilli, one of the authors of the study, stated, “Our work outlines that there is still much to be discovered about Indigenous American groups.” Now that we have access to more accurate sources of information, we can continue exploring further into the genetic history of the Americas to uncover more secrets from its past.