Special Issue "The Peopling of the Americas: A Genetic Perspective"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ornella Semino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology and Biotechnology “Lazzaro Spallanzani”, University of Pavia, I-27100 Pavia, Italy
Interests: Y chromosome and mtDNA phylogeography; human genomic diversity; population genetics; human evolution; modern DNA variation and archeogenomics
Prof. Dr. Alessandro Achilli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology and Biotechnology “Lazzaro Spallanzani”, University of Pavia, I-27100 Pavia, Italy
Interests: Y-chromosome and mtDNA phylogeography; human genomic diversity; population genetics; human evolution; modern DNA variation and archeogenomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The American double continent, the last to be colonized by modern humans, is characterized by an extraordinary cultural and linguistic diversity that, in the last decades, have fostered genetic analyses. However, its genetic history and demographic dynamics are far from being fully defined. Founder events, genetic drift, and admixture, as well as selection in native populations, together with the post-contact newcomers’ genetic contributions have made their reconstruction really challenging. Nowadays, with the advent of advanced sequencing technologies and bioinformatic tools able to acquire and analyze large amounts of modern and ancient genomic data, the knowledge of the Native American gene pool is enormously increasing with the possibility of integrating (modern and ancient) autosomal information with that derived from the mitochondrial DNA and the male-specific region of the Y chromosome.

This Special Issue will collect reviews and original research findings concerning the founding migrations from Beringia/Siberia (origins of Native Americans), the subsequent internal movements (pre-contact genetic history), and the genetic admixture during and after colonial times (post-contact genetic history), as well as historical events and socio-cultural habits that might have influenced the current genomic structure (an interdisciplinary perspective). In our view, an enriched genetic picture can be depicted not only through the analysis of the bi-parental and uni-parental genetic variation in modern and ancient individuals or groups, but also by intercepting indigenous-specific markers that survived in current general populations.

Sincerely

Prof. Ornella Semino
Prof. Alessandro Achilli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Peopling of the Americas
  • Native American ancestries
  • Native American genetic history
  • Native American founding lineages
  • Admixture in the American double continent
  • Ancient and modern DNAs
  • MtDNA, Y chromosome, and autosomal markers

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Review

Review
Understanding the Adaptive Evolutionary Histories of South American Ancient and Present-Day Populations via Genomics
Genes 2021, 12(3), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12030360 - 02 Mar 2021
Viewed by 670
Abstract
The South American continent is remarkably diverse in its ecological zones, spanning the Amazon rainforest, the high-altitude Andes, and Tierra del Fuego. Yet the original human populations of the continent successfully inhabited all these zones, well before the buffering effects of modern technology. [...] Read more.
The South American continent is remarkably diverse in its ecological zones, spanning the Amazon rainforest, the high-altitude Andes, and Tierra del Fuego. Yet the original human populations of the continent successfully inhabited all these zones, well before the buffering effects of modern technology. Therefore, it is likely that the various cultures were successful, in part, due to positive natural selection that allowed them to successfully establish populations for thousands of years. Detecting positive selection in these populations is still in its infancy, as the ongoing effects of European contact have decimated many of these populations and introduced gene flow from outside of the continent. In this review, we explore hypotheses of possible human biological adaptation, methods to identify positive selection, the utilization of ancient DNA, and the integration of modern genomes through the identification of genomic tracts that reflect the ancestry of the first populations of the Americas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Peopling of the Americas: A Genetic Perspective)
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Review
A Multidisciplinary Review of the Inka Imperial Resettlement Policy and Implications for Future Investigations
Genes 2021, 12(2), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12020215 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 692
Abstract
The rulers of the Inka empire conquered approximately 2 million km2 of the South American Andes in just under 100 years from 1438–1533 CE. Inside the empire, the elite conducted a systematic resettlement of the many Indigenous peoples in the Andes that [...] Read more.
The rulers of the Inka empire conquered approximately 2 million km2 of the South American Andes in just under 100 years from 1438–1533 CE. Inside the empire, the elite conducted a systematic resettlement of the many Indigenous peoples in the Andes that had been rapidly colonised. The nature of this resettlement phenomenon is recorded within the Spanish colonial ethnohistorical record. Here we have broadly characterised the resettlement policy, despite the often incomplete and conflicting details in the descriptions. We then review research from multiple disciplines that investigate the empirical reality of the Inka resettlement policy, including stable isotope analysis, intentional cranial deformation morphology, ceramic artefact chemical analyses and genetics. Further, we discuss the benefits and limitations of each discipline for investigating the resettlement policy and emphasise their collective value in an interdisciplinary characterisation of the resettlement policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Peopling of the Americas: A Genetic Perspective)
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Review
Ancient DNA Studies in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
Genes 2020, 11(11), 1346; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11111346 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2296
Abstract
Mesoamerica is a historically and culturally defined geographic area comprising current central and south Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and border regions of Honduras, western Nicaragua, and northwestern Costa Rica. The permanent settling of Mesoamerica was accompanied by the development of agriculture and [...] Read more.
Mesoamerica is a historically and culturally defined geographic area comprising current central and south Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and border regions of Honduras, western Nicaragua, and northwestern Costa Rica. The permanent settling of Mesoamerica was accompanied by the development of agriculture and pottery manufacturing (2500 BCE–150 CE), which led to the rise of several cultures connected by commerce and farming. Hence, Mesoamericans probably carried an invaluable genetic diversity partly lost during the Spanish conquest and the subsequent colonial period. Mesoamerican ancient DNA (aDNA) research has mainly focused on the study of mitochondrial DNA in the Basin of Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula and its nearby territories, particularly during the Postclassic period (900–1519 CE). Despite limitations associated with the poor preservation of samples in tropical areas, recent methodological improvements pave the way for a deeper analysis of Mesoamerica. Here, we review how aDNA research has helped discern population dynamics patterns in the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican context, how it supports archaeological, linguistic, and anthropological conclusions, and finally, how it offers new working hypotheses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Peopling of the Americas: A Genetic Perspective)
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