Ancient genomes in South Patagonia reveal population movements associated with technological shifts and geography

Nathan Nakatsuka, Pierre Luisi, Josefina M.B. Motti, Mónica Salemme, Fernando Santiago, Manuel D. D’Angelo del Campo, Rodrigo J. Vecchi, Yolanda Espinosa-Parrilla, Alfredo Prieto, Nicole Adamski, Ann Marie Lawson, Thomas K. Harper, Brendan J. Culleton, Douglas J. Kennett, Carles Lalueza-Fox, Swapan Mallick, Nadin Rohland, Ricardo A. Guichón, Graciela S. Cabana, Rodrigo NoresDavid Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Archaeological research documents major technological shifts among people who have lived in the southern tip of South America (South Patagonia) during the last thirteen millennia, including the development of marine-based economies and changes in tools and raw materials. It has been proposed that movements of people spreading culture and technology propelled some of these shifts, but these hypotheses have not been tested with ancient DNA. Here we report genome-wide data from 20 ancient individuals, and co-analyze it with previously reported data. We reveal that immigration does not explain the appearance of marine adaptations in South Patagonia. We describe partial genetic continuity since ~6600 BP and two later gene flows correlated with technological changes: one between 4700–2000 BP that affected primarily marine-based groups, and a later one impacting all <2000 BP groups. From ~2200–1200 BP, mixture among neighbors resulted in a cline correlated to geographic ordering along the coast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3868
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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