The Japan Times, December 10, 1998
DNA link claimed between America Indians, Siberians
BOSTON (AP) A Russian geneticist claims he has found an extensive DNA match between American Indians and a nomadic people living in a region north of Mongolia.
Ilya Zakharov, deputy director of Moscow's Vavilov Institute of General Genetics told the Christian Science Monitor that his genetic studies of the Tuvan people in Siberia have significantly narrowed the search for the exact origin of American Indians.
"This is a big breakthrough," he said. "We had examined a lot of populations before - and by pure chance, the results proved it was the Tuvans."
Scientists have established that 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, people with Asian roots migrated across ice sheets of Siberia's Bering Strait to Alaska, likely pursuing animals such as woolly mammoths. And geneticists speculate that America's first inhabitants numbering perhaps no more than 5,000 people, came from northern China or Mongolia.
But Zakharov's research brings that thinking into sharper focus.
In an expedition he led last year to the Ak Dovurak region 3,400 km southeast of Moscow, Zakharov took hair samples from about 430 Tuvans. He analyzed the DNA contained within the hair root and compared it to that of Eskimos and so-called Amerindian people, including the Navajo and Apache.
Zakharov found that Amerindian DNA makeup exactly matched the Tuvans-by 72 percent of one group of 30 samples and 69 percent of another group of 300.