Importance of Australian Aboriginal mtDNA Research

Uncle Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien, right, appears in a 1938 photograph collected by anthropologists along with a lock of his hair. Today, 87-year-old O’Brien is a Karuna elder, and DNA from his hair has been used to track the migration of his ancestors across Australia. Photo: South Australian Museum

Another interesting report on the research being conducted by Ray Tobler and Alan Cooper at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA

Geneticists trace an Australian migration using Aboriginal artefacts

Genome of mummified Inca child sequenced

Aconcagua mummy (Source: IFLS)

Aconcagua mummy (Source: IFLS)

Here is another great success story about the use of mitochondrial DNA for learning about our ancestors.

A partially frozen 500-year-old mummy of an Incan child was found by mountaineers in 1985 in the mountains of Argentina. Part of the mummified lungs was removed and used for analysis of the mitochondrial DNA, which has allowed genetic scientists to map the entire genome of this child. This mapping has led to the discovery of an entirely new genetic lineage that has not been found in contemporary Native Americans.

You can read about this fascinating story at IFLS and for a more in-depth read of the science involved in the Nature Science Report.