The ancient Chachapoya were an aggregate of several ethnic groups that shared a common language, religion, and material culture. They inhabited a territory at the juncture of the Andes and the Amazon basin. Their position between those ecozones most likely influenced their genetic composition. We attempted to better understand their population history by assessing the contemporary genetic diversity in the Chachapoya and three of their immediate neighbors (Huancas, Jivaro, and Cajamarca). We inferred signatures of demographic history and genetic affinities, and contrasted the findings with data from other populations on local and continental scales.
We studied mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA; hypervariable segment [HVSI and HVSII]) and Y chromosome (23 short tandem repeats (STRs)) marker data in 382 modern individuals. We used Sanger sequencing for mtDNA and a commercially available kit for Y–chromosomal STR typing.
The Chachapoya had affinities with various populations of Andean and Amazonian origin. When examining the Native American component, the Chachapoya displayed high levels of genetic diversity. Together with other parameters, for example, large Tajima’s D and Fu’s Fs, the data indicated no drastic reduction of the population size in the past.
The high level of diversity in the Chachapoya, the lack of evidence of drift in the past, and genetic affinities with a broad range of populations in the Americas reflects an intricate population history in the region. The new genetic data from the Chachapoya indeed seems to point to a genetic complexity that is not yet resolved but beginning to be elucidated.
- Evelyn K. Guevara, Jukka U. Palo, Sonia Guillén, Antti Sajantila (2016). MtDNA and Y-chromosomal diversity in the Chachapoya, a population from the northeast Peruvian Andes-Amazon divide. American Journal of Human Biology, in press, in press.
Peoples: Cajamarca, Chachapoya, Huancas, Jivaro, and Native Americans | Places: Amazon basin and Andes | Topics: - | DNA Type: mtDNA and Y-STR