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DNA portrait of Puerto Rican ancestry

National Geographic’s Genographic Project researches locations where different groups historically intermixed to create a modern day melting pot. Collaborating with 326 individuals from southeastern Puerto Rico and Vieques, the Genographic Project conducted the first genetic testing in the area with the goal to gain more information about their ancient past and learn how their DNA fits into the human family tree. The results, just published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, paint a picture of vast historic complexity dating back some 5,000 years, to the first Caribbean peoples.

Our Genographic team learned some key pieces of information that helped us gain more insight into the peopling of the Caribbean. Most surprisingly, we found that roughly 60% of Puerto Ricans carry maternal lineages of Native American origin. Native American ancestry, higher than nearly any other Caribbean island, originated from groups migrating to Puerto Rico from both South and Central America. Analysis of the Y Chromosome DNA found that no Puerto Rican men (0 percent) carried indigenous paternal lineages, while more than 80 percent were West Eurasian (or European).

These types of analyses, not just across the Caribbean or the world, but across a specific population’s DNA, can have strong historical implications and at the same time help paint a new picture of world history.

Read the full, original story: Genographic Project DNA results reveal details of Puerto Rican history

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