April 18, 2016

Paleogenomics of PreHispanic Mexico


Diego Rivera – Mural at Palacio Nacional, Mexico City (from Wikipedia)

The arrival of Spanish colonizers to the Americas had a major demographic impact in the Native population. Such population declined by an estimated 90% due to extermination and the new diseases brought by Europeans, causing an important reduction in the levels of genetic diversity. The analysis of the genomes of present-day indigenous populations yields valuable information about the genetic diversity present in these groups and helps infer past population history events. Furthermore these inferences can be adequately complemented by directly studying ancient genomes predating the arrival of the Spanish colonizers.

The aim of this project is to draw a picture of the amount of genetic diversity and structure that existed prior to the colonization. For such we will sequence several ancient genomes from different regions across the country and with different temporalities.

Some of the questions we hope to answer are:

  • How much genetic diversity and structure existed in the Native groups across the territory previous to the arrival of the colonizers?
  • How much genetic diversity was lost overall?
  • What cultures were affected the most in terms of loss of genetic diversity as a consequence of the colonization?
  • What alleles made it to present day indigenous and mestizo populations?
  • Were the alleles that made it through the bottleneck advantageous in any way? (e.g. immunity-related genes)

This project is carried out in collaboration with Andres Moreno and Rafael Montiel from the National Laboratory for Genomics for Biodiversity (LANGEBIO).

I am currently recruiting students at all levels to take part in this research. If interested please visit join the lab for more information and drop me an email.


Afro-Mexico Genomics Project >>