– DNA analysis reveals that four families in Iceland possess genes typically found in Native Americans or East Asians.
– Genealogical evidence revealed that these families shared a distant ancestor from the same region.
– The Vikings may have brought back a Native American woman with them after they arrived in the New World.
The first Native American to arrive in Europe may have been a woman brought to Iceland by the Vikings more than 1,000 years ago, a study by Spanish and Icelandic researchers suggests.
The findings boost widely-accepted theories, based on Icelandic medieval texts and a reputed Viking settlement in Newfoundland in Canada, that the Vikings reached the American continent several centuries before Christopher Columbus traveled to the “New World.”
Spain’s CSIC scientific research institute said genetic analysis of around 80 people from a total of four families in Iceland showed they possess a type of DNA normally only found in Native Americans or East Asians.
“It was thought at first that (the DNA) came from recently established Asian families in Iceland,” CSIC researcher Carles Lalueza-Fox was quoted as saying in a statement by the institute. “But when family genealogy was studied, it was discovered that the four families were descended from ancestors who lived between 1710 and 1740 from the same region of southern Iceland.”
The lineage found, named C1e, is also mitochondrial, which means that the genes were introduced into Iceland by a woman.
“As the island was virtually isolated from the 10th century, the most likely hypothesis is that these genes corresponded to an Amerindian woman who was brought from America by the Vikings around the year 1000,” said Lalueza-Fox.