Genome-wide ancestry of 17th-century enslaved Africans from the Caribbean.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Schroeder, Hannes; Ávila-Arcos, María C; Malaspinas, Anna-Sapfo; Poznik, G David; Sandoval-Velasco, Marcela; Carpenter, Meredith L; Moreno-Mayar, José Víctor; Sikora, Martin; Johnson, Philip L F; Allentoft, Morten Erik; Samaniego, José Alfredo; Haviser, Jay B; Dee, Michael W; Stafford, Thomas W; Salas, Antonio; Orlando, Ludovic; Willerslev, Eske; Bustamante, Carlos D; Gilbert, M Thomas P
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Volume: 112
Issue: 12
Pagination: 3669-73
Date Published: 2015 Mar 24
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: Africa, African Continental Ancestry Group, Algorithms, Archaeology, Bayes Theorem, Caribbean Region, Chromosomes, Human, Y, Cluster Analysis, DNA, Mitochondrial, Ethnic groups, Genetic Markers, Genetics, Population, Genome, Human, Genome-Wide Association Study, Haplotypes, Humans, Likelihood Functions, Principal Component Analysis, Probability, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Slavery, Slaves

Between 1500 and 1850, more than 12 million enslaved Africans were transported to the New World. The vast majority were shipped from West and West-Central Africa, but their precise origins are largely unknown. We used genome-wide ancient DNA analyses to investigate the genetic origins of three enslaved Africans whose remains were recovered on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. We trace their origins to distinct subcontinental source populations within Africa, including Bantu-speaking groups from northern Cameroon and non-Bantu speakers living in present-day Nigeria and Ghana. To our knowledge, these findings provide the first direct evidence for the ethnic origins of enslaved Africans, at a time for which historical records are scarce, and demonstrate that genomic data provide another type of record that can shed new light on long-standing historical questions.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1421784112
Alternate Journal: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.