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Skoglund and colleagues from HMS, the Broad and several universities in Brazil analyzed publicly available genetic information from 21 Native American populations from Central and South America. They also collected and analyzed DNA from nine additional populations in Brazil to make sure the link they saw hadn’t been an artifact of how the first set of genomes had been collected. The team then compared those genomes to the genomes of people from about 200 non-American populations.

The team named the mysterious ancestor Population Y, after the Tupí word for ancestor, “Ypykuéra.”
The link persisted. The Tupí-speaking Suruí and Karitiana and the Ge-speaking Xavante of the Amazon had a genetic ancestor more closely related to indigenous Australasians than to any other present-day population. This ancestor doesn’t appear to have left measurable traces in other Native American groups in South, Central or North America.

Previous research had shown that Native Americans from the Arctic to the southern tip of South America can trace their ancestry to a single “founding population” called the First Americans, who came across the Bering land bridge about 15,000 years ago. In 2012, Reich and colleagues enriched this history by showing that certain indigenous groups in northern Canada inherited DNA from at least two subsequent waves of migration.
The genetic markers from this ancestor don’t match any population known to have contributed ancestry to Native Americans, and the geographic pattern can’t be explained by post-Columbian European, African or Polynesian mixture with Native Americans, the authors said. They believe the ancestry is much older–perhaps as old as the First Americans.
“About 2 percent of the ancestry of Amazonians today comes from this Australasian lineage that’s not present in the same way elsewhere in the Americas,” said Reich.
“That was an unexpected and somewhat confusing result,” said Reich, who is also an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator. “We spent a really long time trying to make this result go away and it just got stronger.”
Native Americans living in the Amazon bear an unexpected genetic connection to indigenous people in Australasia, suggesting a previously unknown wave of migration to the Americas thousands of years ago, a new study has found.

In the ensuing millennia, the ancestral group has disappeared.

Native Americans living in the Amazon bear an unexpected genetic connection to indigenous people in Australasia, suggesting a previously unknown wave of migration to the Americas thousands of years ago, a new study has found.

If a company or researcher wants to use a piece of genetic code for a new medicine, study or product, they can access the bank and see exactly where in the Amazon it came from, said Waughray.

“It used to be companies would send people into the Amazon to gather material,” said Thomas.
TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In a bid to stop “biopiracy”, researchers are building a giant database to catalog genetic material from the world’s largest rainforest.

Genetic mapping of the Amazon could also usher in a “fourth industrial revolution”, he said.
Pharmaceutical companies have also used the yellow-and-green Kambo frog to create anti-inflammatory drugs without distributing benefits to local residents, Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency said in 2011.
Less than 15 percent of the world’s estimated species of plants and land animals have been genetically classified, and less than 0.1 percent have had their DNA thoroughly sequenced, according to the World Economic Forum.
Smart phones and digital payment tools will make it possible for outside investors to directly pay local residents to use genetic material extracted from their land, Waughray said.
Critics, however, worry the project could actually make it easier for companies to steal genetic material.

One solution involves compelling investors to pay royalties to local communities when using genetic sequences from organisms extracted from the forest, he said. The Amazon Bank of Codes will facilitate those payments.

TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In a bid to stop "biopiracy", researchers are building a giant database to catalog genetic material from the world's largest rainforest.