Listening to the Science Friday podcast episode “In Indigenous Genes, Evidence of Colonization’s Plagues” (November 24, 2016).
In the years after Europeans arrived in the Americas, indigenous communities were ravaged by disease that the colonists brought with them, from influenza to smallpox. New genetic research published in Nature Communications now describes one way that the course of history may have changed the genetics of Coast Tsimshian communities in northwestern British Columbia.
A genetic comparison of ancient Tsimshian remains and modern Tsimshian community members found shifts in a part of the genome responsible for regulating immune function. Some variants found in the ancient remains were rare in the living, suggesting they were less helpful for surviving the European pathogens.
Follow this link to listen to the complete interview on Science Friday’s site.