Science, part of human history in lice’s DNA

Science, part of human history in lice’s DNA

Part of human history is written in the DNA of lice. This is what emerged from a study conducted by Marina Asconci of the University of Florida, published in the journal Plos One, which examined 274 genetic variations found in lice from 25 different locations.

Although annoying, lice can be considered among man’s “faithful companions”: wingless, blood-feeding parasites for thousands of years that have evolved with us, to ensure their survival, even following us throughout our existence. Migrations. By comparing the genome of lice from 25 different regions, the researchers identified a series of differences: 274 genetic differences that allow us to reconstruct some crucial moments in human history. Some of these differences emphasized the two distinct waves of human migration to America. The first occurred more than 10,000 years ago from Asia via the Bering Strait, while the second was associated with European colonization after the 16th century.

The analyzes also made it possible to distinguish between two groups of lice: one that is widespread worldwide and the other that is prevalent in Europe and America. There is also a different type of lice, which is sort of a cross between the two, and is found exclusively in America. This hybridization appears to be the result of the meeting between lice brought by the first inhabitants of America and lice brought later by Europeans. Scientists point out that through further analysis of genetic markers, it will be possible to deepen our understanding of these dynamics and resolve some of the mysterious details related to arrival in America, especially in times of settlement in the southern regions.

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