April 23, 2012

Ancient DNA from pre-Columbian Andean community

BMC Genetics 2012, 13:30 doi:10.1186/1471-2156-13-30

Ancient DNA reveals kinship burial patterns of a pre-Columbian Andean community

Mateusz Baca et al.

Abstract (provisional)


A detailed genetic study of the pre-Columbian population inhabiting the Tompullo 2 archaeological site (department Arequipa, Peru) was undertaken to resolve the kin relationships between individuals buried in six different chullpas. Kin relationships were an important factor shaping the social organization in the pre-Columbian Andean communities, centering on the ayllu, a group of relatives that shared a common land and responsibilities. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether this Andean model of a social organization had an influence on mortuary practices, in particular to determine whether chullpas served as family graves.


The remains of forty-one individuals were analyzed with both uniparental (mtDNA, Y-chromosome) and biparental (autosomal microsatellites) markers. Reproducible HVRI sequences, autosomal and Y chromosomal STR profiles were obtained for 24, 16 and 11 individuals, respectively. Mitochondrial DNA diversity was comparable to that of ancient and contemporary Andean populations. The Tompullo 2 population exhibited the closest relationship with the modern population from the same region. A kinship analysis revealed complex pattern of relations within and between the graves. However mean relatedness coefficients regarding the pairs of individuals buried in the same grave were significantly higher than those regarding pairs buried in different graves. The Y chromosome profiles of 11 males suggest that only members of one male line were buried in the same grave.


Genetic investigation of the population that inhabited Tompullo 2 site shows continuity between pre-Columbian and modern Native Amerindian populations inhabiting the Arequipa region. This suggests that no major demographic processes have influenced the mitochondrial DNA diversity of these populations during the past five hundred years. The kinship analysis involving uni- and biparental markers suggests that the community that inhabited the Tompullo 2 site was organized into extended family groups that were buried in different graves. This finding is in congruence with known models of social organization of Andean communities.



Mark D said...

I have a layperson's question for those who may know - has the science and technology for testing ancient DNA advanced to the point that archeologists are able to test late neolithic bone samples? I recently read up on the "death pit" at Domuztepe in Turkey and wondered if such testing there could shed light on neolithic farmer migration from that area into Europe.

eurologist said...

Not an expert, but clearly it depends on the state of conservation - mostly influenced by temperature but also soil conditions etc. Farther north it's almost done routinely, now, for that time period and earlier - especially concerning mtDNA, but also y-haplogroup determination.


Fanty said...

As far as I know, mtDNA is very stabile and can be estaminated under almost all conditions.

Thats why we have a lot of mtDNA from ancient bones. And some of them dating back 30K years or so.

It was Y-DNA wich had always been a problem. And until "recently", one had to be extremely lucky to extract Y-DNA from something that is older than 2K or so years.

A reason why there was so few ancient y-dna.

It apears that methods of extraction have extremely improved. So that now, its possible to estaminate Y-DNA or even autosomal DNA under corpse conditions, in wich it was impossible 3 or 4 years ago.

And since then, ancient Y-DNA or autosomal DNA data comes in "frequently".

sidoroffs said...

No haplogroup?

Anonymous said...

Friends, I share with you the Inca technology that still exists in
Cusco, I hope they like.