You are here:

Aleut Population History Project

The Aleut project was a collaborative research project to document patterns of genetic variation in both prehistoric and contemporary populations of the Aleutian Islands. The ancient DNA analyses were carried out in the Utah aDNA laboratory, while the modern DNA sampling and analysis was directed by Michael H. Crawford at the University of Kansas. The aim was to test Hrdlicka's hypothesis of a migration/replacement of Pre-Aleuts by Aleuts approximately 1000 years ago. Both the ancient DNA and modern community analyses were consistent with this hypothesis, although the genetic analyses demonstrated the dynamics of the population movement were far more complex than envisioned by Hrdlicka. O'Rourke and Raff completed this earlier project by focusing on samples recovered archaeologically from the Alaska Peninsula. Results from the Peninsula samples were compared to the aDNA data obtained in the original Aleut project in order to clarify regional patterns of variation and local population movements and displacements. Results indicated greater diversity on the Peninsula than expected, exceeding that of ancient Aleut samples previously studied, and documenting the presence of mtDNA lineage B2 in the region. This lineage had never been observed this far north or west in the Americas prior to this analysis.

Lab Home

Last Updated: 11/28/16