Washington State University molecular anthropologist Brian Kemp used genetic method to address classic questions about the entrance of humans into the Americas. Professor Kemp studied genetic information that extracted from the tooth of an adolescent girl, Naia, who fell into a sinkhole in the Yucatan 12,000 to 13,000 years ago. His discovery will help resolve a longstanding debate about the origins of the first inhabitants of the Americas and the possible connection between the first people and modern Native Americans.
Naia was buried underwater in an elaborate cave system in the Yucatan Peninsula after she had apparently fallen into what was then a dry deep pit, which was “an inescapable natural trap,” as Professor Kemp described. Professor Kemp’s research team used radiocarbon dating and analyzed chemical signatures in bones and in flowerlike crystals that grew on the bones to determine how long ago the girl lived.
Naia had a narrower skull shape and other measurable features different from those of modern Native Americans. Such differences led researchers in the past to hypothesize that Naia were from a separate population that came from as far away as Australia or Southeast Asia. Luckily for researchers, however, Naia’s bones still held genetic material that could be analyzed to determine her origins.
Professor Kemp extracted and analyzed Naia’s mitochondrial DNA, which offered more genetic material than that in the nucleus of cells. In his study, Professor Kemp found that Naia belonged to a genetic lineage that is shared only by modern Native Americans.
“We were able to identify Naia’s genetic lineage with high certainty,” Professor Kemp reported in the journal Science. “This shows that living Native Americans and these ancient remains of the girl we analyzed all came from the same source population during the initial peopling of the Americas.”
The research on Naia is an international effort involving scientists, divers, and technicians from more than a dozen institutions. Professor Kemp is one of two researchers in this research field who independently extracted and analyzed mitochondrial DNA from Naia. His study helps Washington State University earn a reputation in the fields of Genetic Anthropology, Archaeology, and Paleontology.
Professor Kemp’s study is one of the dynamic research programs ongoing at Washington State University. The research programs at Washington State University attracted $109 million in research funding from private support and an additional $281 million in public grants and contracts during fiscal year 2013.
Laboratory supply companies cannot afford to miss an opportunity to connect with such well-funded research market at Washington State University. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is organizing the Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event on October 29th 2014 to help laboratory supply companies to get the best value on life science marketing opportunity.
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This year’s BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at Washington State University is the 15th BioResearch Product Faire™ Event that Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. organizes in the university. Last year, the event at Washington State University attracted 268 attendees. Of these attendees:
- 62 were purchasing agents, professors and post docs
- 27 were lab managers.
- These attendees came from 29 different research buildings and 34 on-campus departments.
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There are more BioResearch Product Faire™ Events available at different institutions across the country. Please read the National Show Schedule for 2014.