Two ancient human genomes reveal Polynesian ancestry among the indigenous Botocudos of Brazil

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Anna Sapfo Malaspinas
  • Oscar Lao
  • Morten Rasmussen
  • Maanasa Raghavan
  • Paula Campos
  • Francisca Santana Sagredo
  • Vanessa F Gonçalves
  • Philip L F Johnson
  • Mingkun Li
  • Silvia Reis
  • Danilo V Bernardo
  • Michael DeGiorgio
  • Ana T Duggan
  • Murilo Bastos
  • Yong Wang
  • Jesper Stenderup
  • Søren Brunak
  • Thomas Sicheritz-Ponten
  • Emily Hodges
  • Gregory J Hannon
  • Ludovic Antoine Alexandre Orlando
  • T Douglas Price
  • Jeffrey D Jensen
  • Jan Heinemeier
  • Jesper Olsen
  • Claudia Rodrigues-Carvalho
  • Marta Mirazón Lahr
  • Walter A Neves
  • Manfred Kayser
  • Thomas Higham
  • Mark Stoneking
  • Sergio D J Pena

Understanding the peopling of the Americas remains an important and challenging question. Here, we present (14)C dates, and morphological, isotopic and genomic sequence data from two human skulls from the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, part of one of the indigenous groups known as 'Botocudos'. We find that their genomic ancestry is Polynesian, with no detectable Native American component. Radiocarbon analysis of the skulls shows that the individuals had died prior to the beginning of the 19th century. Our findings could either represent genomic evidence of Polynesians reaching South America during their Pacific expansion, or European-mediated transport.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent biology : CB
Issue number21
Pages (from-to)R1035-R1037
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ID: 128558610