Copyright 2005

[ May 26th 2005 ]

Molecular scientists have uncovered evidence which suggests North America was originally settled by just a few dozen people who crossed a land bridge from Asia during the last Ice Age, according to a report on The explorers were believed to have crossed the Bering land bridge from Siberia to North America more than 14,000 years ago.

"The estimated effective size of the founding population for the New World is about 70 individuals," said Jody Hey, a professor of genetics at Rutgers University. "The beauty of the new methodology is that it uses actual DNA sequences collected from Asian peoples and Native Americans, an approach that can provide a detailed portrait of historical populations."

According to, previous DNA analysis focused on one DNA strain and determined population sizes had been constant over time. The new discovery is born from the study of nine genomic regions which accounts for variations in single genes. This method favoured actual genetic data over estimates used in previous calculations.

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