Land, language, and loci: mtDNA in native Americans and the genetic history of Peru

Cecil M. Lewis, Raúl Y. Tito, Beatriz Lizárraga, Anne Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Despite a long history of complex societies and despite extensive present-day linguistic and ethnic diversity, relatively few populations in Peru have been sampled for population genetic investigations. In order to address questions about the relationships between South American populations and about the extent of correlation between genetic distance, language, and geography in the region, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) hypervariable region I sequences and mtDNA haplogroup markers were examined in 33 individuals from the Department of Ancash, Peru. These sequences were compared to those from 19 American Indian populations using diversity estimates, AMOVA tests, mismatch distributions, a multidimensional scaling plot, and regressions. The results show correlations between genetics, linguistics, and geographical affinities, with stronger correlations between genetics and language. Additionally, the results suggest a pattern of differential gene flow and drift in western vs. eastern South America, supporting previous mtDNA and Y chromosome investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-360
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • American Indian
  • Genetic distance
  • Mitochondrial DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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