Demographic history and genetic structure in pre-Hispanic Central Mexico

Viridiana Villa-Islas, Alan Izarraras-Gomez, Maximilian Larena, Elizabeth Mejía Perez Campos, Marcela Sandoval-Velasco, Juan Esteban Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Miriam Bravo-Lopez, Barbara Moguel, Rosa Fregel, Ernesto Garfias-Morales, Jazeps Medina Tretmanis, David Alberto Velázquez-Ramírez, Alberto Herrera-Muñóz, Karla Sandoval, Maria A. Nieves-Colón, Gabriela Zepeda García Moreno, Fernando A. Villanea, Eugenia Fernández Villanueva Medina, Ramiro Aguayo-Haro, Cristina ValdioseraAlexander G. Ioannidis, Andrés Moreno-Estrada, Flora Jay, Emilia Huerta-Sanchez, J. Víctor Moreno-Mayar, Federico Sánchez-Quinto, María C. Ávila-Arcos

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4 Scopus citations


Aridoamerica and Mesoamerica are two distinct cultural areas in northern and central Mexico, respectively, that hosted numerous pre-Hispanic civilizations between 2500 BCE and 1521 CE. The division between these regions shifted southward because of severe droughts ~1100 years ago, which allegedly drove a population replacement in central Mexico by Aridoamerican peoples. In this study, we present shotgun genome-wide data from 12 individuals and 27 mitochondrial genomes from eight pre-Hispanic archaeological sites across Mexico, including two at the shifting border of Aridoamerica and Mesoamerica. We find population continuity that spans the climate change episode and a broad preservation of the genetic structure across present-day Mexico for the past 2300 years. Lastly, we identify a contribution to pre-Hispanic populations of northern and central Mexico from two ancient unsampled “ghost” populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereadd6142
Issue number6645
StatePublished - May 12 2023

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  • Historical Article
  • Journal Article


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