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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Dec 20;108(51):20444-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1112563108. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Native Americans experienced a strong population bottleneck coincident with European contact.

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1
Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. brendano@u.washington.edu

Abstract

The genetic and demographic impact of European contact with Native Americans has remained unclear despite recent interest. Whereas archeological and historical records indicate that European contact resulted in widespread mortality from various sources, genetic studies have found little evidence of a recent contraction in Native American population size. In this study we use a large dataset including both ancient and contemporary mitochondrial DNA to construct a high-resolution portrait of the Holocene and late Pleistocene population size of indigenous Americans. Our reconstruction suggests that Native Americans suffered a significant, although transient, contraction in population size some 500 y before the present, during which female effective size was reduced by ∼50%. These results support analyses of historical records indicating that European colonization induced widespread mortality among indigenous Americans.

PMID:
22143784
PMCID:
PMC3251087
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1112563108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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