The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)


Genetic relationships and linguistic diversity in present-day populations of South America

CHIARA BARBIERI1,2, RODRIGO BARQUERA3, LEONARDO ARIAS4, JOSÉ R. SANDOVAL5, OSCAR ACOSTA5, CAMILO ZURITA6,7, ABRAHAM AGUILAR-CAMPOS8, ANA M. TITO-ÁLVAREZ9, RICARDO SERRANO-OSUNA8, RUSSELL D. GRAY2, FABRIZIO MAFESSONI4, PAUL HEGGARTY2, KENTARO K. SHIMIZU1, RICARDO FUJITA5, MARK STONEKING4, IRINA PUGACH4 and LARS FEHREN-SCHMITZ10,11.

1Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland, 2Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany, 3Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany, 4Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, 5Centro de Investigación de Genética y Biología Molecular (CIGBM), Universidad de San Martín de Porres, Lima, Peru, 6Cátedra de Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Central del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador, 7Unidad de Investigaciones en Biomedicina, Zurita&Zurita Laboratorios, Quito, Ecuador, 8Clinical Laboratory, Unidad Médica de Alta Especialidad (UMAE) # 2, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico, 9Carrera de Enfermería, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Las Américas, Quito, Ecuador, 10UCSC Paleogenomics, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA, 11Genomics Institute, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

April 17, 2020 , Diamond 7 Add to calendar

Studies of Native South American genetic diversity have been crucial to elucidating early migrations and broad continental structure. In recent years, high-throughput genomic data and denser sampling coverage have provided new opportunities to disentangle complex historical scenarios, also at a regional scale. Here, we analyze the genetic structure of populations living in western South America, with a focus on their linguistic histories, by generating Y chromosome and autosomal data (Affymetrix Human Origins SNP array). We search for connections between the Andes, home to expansive complex societies and to Quechua – a widely spoken indigenous language family – and Amazonia, with its understudied population structure, scattered language family distribution and rich cultural diversity. Our results compare the ancient genetic structure of the region against more recent layers of haplotype exchange. A contrasting pattern emerges between the two kinds of data analyzed: in the paternal line, we describe a north-south divide between Quechua speakers, while in the autosomal data we detect recent demographic connections between the two groups, and across the Andes-Amazonia divide. Long-distance genetic connections between speakers of Tupí languages (a widespread Amazonian family) suggest that here too, indigenous languages were spread not by cultural contact alone. This parallel between genetic and linguistic history highlights how language acts as a preferential tracer of population mobility within and across ecogeographic domains.

Wenner-Gren postdoctoral grant (Gr. 9395), University Research Priority Program of Evolution in Action of the University of Zurich.


Slides/Poster (pdf)