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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Origins and genetic legacies of the Caribbean

Taino Ancient DNA has revolutionized the field of archaeology, but in the Caribbean and other tropical regions of the world, the work has been hampered by poor DNA preservation. We present an ancient human genome from the Caribbean and use it to shed light on the early peopling of the islands. We demonstrate that the ancestors of the so-called “Taino” who inhabited large parts of the Caribbean in pre-Columbian times originated in northern South America, and we find evidence that they had a comparatively large effective population size. We also show that the native components in some modern Caribbean genomes are closely related to the ancient Taino, suggesting that indigenous ancestry in the region has survived through the present day.