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Aleuts

Wednesday 28 September 2005

- The Aleuts are aboriginal inhabitants of the Aleutian archipelago, including Bering and Copper (Medny) Islands of the Commanders Islands.

- They seem to be the survivors of the inhabitants of the southern belt of the Bering Land Bridge that connected Chukotka/Kamchatka and Alaska during the end of the Ice Age.

- Sireniki Eskimos in Chukotka belong to the Beringian-specific subhaplogroup D2.

- Unlike the Eskimos and Na-Dene, the Aleuts of the Commanders were founded by a single lineage of haplogroup D2, which had acquired the novel transversion mutation 8910A.

- The phylogeny of haplogroup D complete sequences showed that (1) the D2 root sequence type originated among the latest inhabitants of Beringia and (2) the Aleut 8910A sublineage of D2 is a part of larger radiation of rooted D2, which gave rise to D2a (Na-Dene), D2b (Aleut), and D2c (Eskimo) sublineages.

- The geographic specificity and remarkable intrinsic diversity of D2 lineages support the refugial hypothesis, which assumes that the founding population of Eskimo-Aleut originated in Beringan/southwestern Alaskan refugia during the early postglacial period, rather than having reached the shores of Alaska as the result of recent wave of migration from interior Siberia.

References

- Derbeneva OA, Sukernik RI, Volodko NV, Hosseini SH, Lott MT, Wallace DC. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA diversity in the aleuts of the commander islands and its implications for the genetic history of beringia. Am J Hum Genet. 2002 Aug;71(2):415-21. PMID: 12082644