Ancient nuclear genomes enable repatriation of Indigenous human remains

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2018Researchpeer-review

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  • Author: Wright, Joanne L.

    Griffith University Queensland, Australia

  • Author: Wasef, Sally

    Griffith University Queensland, Australia

  • Author: Heupink, Tim H.

    Griffith University Queensland, Australia

  • Author: Westaway, Michael C.

    Griffith University Queensland, Australia

  • Author: Rasmussen, Simon

    Metagenomics, Department of Bio and Health Informatics, Technical University of Denmark, Kemitorvet, 2800, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

  • Author: Pardoe, Colin

    Australian National University, Australia

  • Author: Fourmile, Gudju Gudju

    Gimuy Yidniji Elder, Australia

  • Author: Young, Michael

    Barkandji/Paakantyi Elder, Australia

  • Author: Johnson, Trish

    Barkandji/Paakantyi Elder, Australia

  • Author: Slade, Joan

    Ngiyampaa Elder, Australia

  • Author: Kennedy, Roy

    Ngiyampaa Elder, Australia

  • Author: Winch, Patsy

    Mutthi Mutthi Elder, Australia

  • Author: Pappin, Mary

    Mutthi Mutthi Elder, Australia

  • Author: Wales, Tapij

    Thanynakwith Elder, Australia

  • Author: Bates, William "Badger"

    Barkandji/Paakantyi Elder, Australia

  • Author: Hamilton, Sharnie

    Barapa Barapa Nation, Australia

  • Author: Whyman, Neville

    Barapa Barapa Nation, Australia

  • Author: van Holst Pellekaan, Sheila

    University of New South Wales, Australia

  • Author: McAllister, Peter J.

    Springbrook, Australia

  • Author: Taçon, Paul S. C.

    Griffith University Queensland, Australia

  • Author: Curnoe, Darren

    University of New South Wales, Australia

  • Author: Li, Ruiqiang

    Novogene Bioinformatics Institute, China

  • Author: Millar, Craig

    The University of Auckland, New Zealand

  • Author: Subramanian, Sankar

    Griffith University Queensland, Australia

  • Author: Willerslev, Eske

    Natural History Museum of Denmark, Denmark

  • Author: Malaspinas, Anna Sapfo

    University of Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Author: Sikora, Martin

    Natural History Museum of Denmark, Denmark

  • Author: Lambert, David M.

    Griffith University Queensland, Australia

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After European colonization, the ancestral remains of Indigenous people were often collected for scientific research or display in museum collections. For many decades, Indigenous people, including Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians, have fought for their return. However, many of these remains have no recorded provenance, making their repatriation very difficult or impossible. To determine whether DNA-based methods could resolve this important problem, we sequenced 10 nuclear genomes and 27 mitogenomes from ancient pre-European Aboriginal Australians (up to 1540 years before the present) of known provenance and compared them to 100 high-coverage contemporary Aboriginal Australian genomes, also of known provenance. We report substantial ancient population structure showing strong genetic affinities between ancient and contemporary Aboriginal Australian individuals from the same geographic location. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of successfully identifying the origins of unprovenanced ancestral remains using genomic methods.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaau5064
JournalScience Advances
Volume4
Issue number12
Number of pages12
ISSN2375-2548
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

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