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DNA analysis reveals more about Maori settlement

DNA found in the teeth of the first known New Zealanders has been examined to shed some light on how Polynesia was settled.

The researchers ground the teeth to a fine powder and dissolved the powder to release mitochondrial DNA. After being purified, the DNA was sequenced using a new technology that can produce tens of thousands of short sequences.

“These short DNA sequences are like puzzle pieces in a jigsaw puzzle with 50,000 pieces. Using powerful computers we can put these short reads back together in the correct order to assemble the sequence of the complete mitochondrial genome of each individual we sequenced,” says Knapp.

“What we found was that each individual that we got DNA sequences from Wairau Bar was different – they had unique mutations.”

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Story: Stephen Pincock, ABC | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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