19.10.2017 - 07:33
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Molecular Anthropology with Native populations from the Colombian Amazonia

Northwestern Amazonia is well known for its enormous biological, linguistic and cultural diversity. This region comprises a vast area extending form the Andean foothills to both the Orinoco and the Amazon basins. Recent anthropological and archaeological research have begun to recognize that this area was populated since at least 10.000 years ago by modern humans and that complex societies –chiefdoms and multiethnic confederations- originated there before the arrival of Europeans, with these societies developing some of the earliest ceramic styles of South America and independently domesticating several crops.

My research focuses on the comparative analysis of genetic diversity among ethnic groups from Northwestern Amazonia in Colombia who speak languages belonging to the Arawakan, Tukanoan, Carib, Tupi and Guahiban families, the disputed language family Makú-Puinave and isolate languages such as Camsá, Cofan and Tikuna. This research employs methods of molecular anthropology and cutting-edge technology in DNA sequencing to analyze complete mitochondrial genomes, sequences of the Y-chromosome and autosomal data to address some of the following questions:

What are the genetic relationships among the indigenous populations of northwestern Amazonia, Colombia? Do the linguistic classifications correlate with the genetic relationships among populations?

What past demographic events (population size changes, migration, fission, etc) have determined the current genetic variation within and among groups?


Leonardo Arias Alvis
leonardo_arias@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de