Generations of genomes: advances in paleogenomics technology and engagement for Indigenous people of the Americas

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2020 Jun:62:91-96. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2020.06.010. Epub 2020 Jul 25.


For decades, scientists have collected genomic information from Indigenous peoples and their ancestors with the goal of elucidating human migration events, understanding ancestral origins, and identifying ancestral variants contributing to disease. However, such studies may not have offered much benefit to the Indigenous groups who contributed DNA, and many have instead perpetuated stereotypes and other harms. With recent advances in genomic technology facilitating the study of both ancient and present-day DNA, researchers and Indigenous communities have new opportunities to begin collaboratively addressing important questions about human health and history. Yet, while there are increased efforts to ethically engage Indigenous communities, more work is still needed as the discipline struggles to absolve itself of the racialized science and extractive biocolonialism that defined its past.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genome, Human*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Human Migration*
  • Humans
  • Indigenous Peoples / genetics*
  • Paleontology*
  • Population Groups / genetics*
  • United States