Jason A. Eshleman is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis, where he completed his doctoral research examining mtDNA extracted from prehistoric California sites. He has coauthored a number of publications examining mtDNA diversity in the New World.
Mitochondrial DNA studies of Native Americans: Conceptions and misconceptions of the population prehistory of the Americas
Article first published online: 14 FEB 2003
Copyright © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews
Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 7–18, 2003
How to Cite
Eshleman, J. A., Malhi, R. S. and Smith, D. G. (2003), Mitochondrial DNA studies of Native Americans: Conceptions and misconceptions of the population prehistory of the Americas. Evol. Anthropol., 12: 7–18. doi: 10.1002/evan.10048
- Issue published online: 14 FEB 2003
- Article first published online: 14 FEB 2003
- Native Americans;
- ancient DNA
A decade ago, the first reviews of the collective mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data from Native Americans concluded that the Americas were peopled through multiple migrations from different Asian populations beginning more than 30,000 years ago.1 These reports confirmed multiple-wave hypotheses suggested earlier by other sources and rejected the dominant Clovis-first archeological paradigm. Consequently, it appeared that molecular biology had made a significant contribution to the study of American prehistory. As Cann2 comments, the Americas held the greatest promise for genetics to help solve some of the mysteries of prehistoric populations. In particular, mtDNA appeared to offer real potential as a means of better understanding ancient population movements. A decade later, none of the early conclusions remain unequivocal. Nevertheless, in its maturity, the study of Native American mtDNA has produced a volume of reports that still illuminate the nature and timing of the first peopling and postcolonization population movements within the New World.