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The first men and women from the Canary Islands were Berbers
Date:10/21/2009

A team of Spanish and Portuguese researchers has carried out molecular genetic analysis of the Y chromosome (transmitted only by males) of the aboriginal population of the Canary Islands to determine their origin and the extent to which they have survived in the current population. The results suggest a North African origin for these paternal lineages which, unlike maternal lineages, have declined to the point of being practically replaced today by European lineages.

Researchers from the University of La Laguna (ULL), the Institute of Pathology and Molecular Immunology from the University of Porto (Portugal) and the Institute of Legal Medicine from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) have studied the Y chromosome from human dental remains from the Canary Islands, and have determined the origin and evolution of paternal lineages from the pre-Hispanic era to the present day. To date, only mitochondrial DNA has been studied, which merely reflects the evolution of maternal lineages.

Rosa Fregal, the principal author of the recently-published study in BMC Evolutionary Biology, and a researcher from the Genetics Department of the ULL, explains to SINC that "whereas aboriginal maternal lineages have survived with a slight downward trend, aboriginal paternal lineages have declined progressively, being replaced by European lineages".

Experts have also analysed an historic sample for La Concepcin church (Tenerife), which dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. With these data, they have established the impact of European colonisation and the African slave trade, and have determined the evolution of paternal lineages in aborigines from the Canary Islands or Guanches, from the pre-Hispanic era to the present day.

Although contribution is now mainly European, scientists state that North African and Sub-Saharan contribution was higher in the 17th and 18th centuries. The explanation as to why there is a difference betw
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Contact: SINC
info@plataformasinc.es
34-914-251-820
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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