Increased rate of close-kin unions in the central Andes in the half millennium before European contact

Curr Biol. 2020 Sep 7;30(17):R980-R981. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.07.072.


Analyzing ancient DNA of the central Andes, Ringbauer and colleagues identify a markedly elevated rate of unions of closely related parents after ca. 1000 CE. This change of mating preferences sheds new light on a unique system of social organization based on ancestry ("ayllu") whereby within-group unions were preferred to facilitate sharing of resources.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Ancient / analysis*
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Inbreeding / history*
  • Inbreeding / methods*
  • Reproduction*
  • South America


  • DNA, Ancient