Archaeogenomic distinctiveness of the Isthmo-Colombian area

Marco Rosario Capodiferro, Bethany Aram, Alessandro Raveane, Nicola Rambaldi Migliore, Giulia Colombo, Linda Ongaro, Javier Rivera, Tomás Mendizábal, Iosvany Hernández-Mora, Maribel Tribaldos, Ugo Alessandro Perego, Hongjie Li, Christiana Lyn Scheib, Alessandra Modi, Alberto Gòmez-Carballa, Viola Grugni, Gianluca Lombardo, Garrett Hellenthal, Juan Miguel Pascale, Francesco BertoliniGaetano Salvatore Grieco, Cristina Cereda, Martina Lari, David Caramelli, Luca Pagani, Mait Metspalu, Ronny Friedrich, Corina Knipper, Anna Olivieri, Antonio Salas, Richard Cooke, Francesco Montinaro, Jorge Motta, Antonio Torroni, Juan Guillermo Martín, Ornella Semino, Ripan Singh Malhi, Alessandro Achilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recently enriched genomic history of Indigenous groups in the Americas is still meager concerning continental Central America. Here, we report ten pre-Hispanic (plus two early colonial) genomes and 84 genome-wide profiles from seven groups presently living in Panama. Our analyses reveal that pre-Hispanic demographic events contributed to the extensive genetic structure currently seen in the area, which is also characterized by a distinctive Isthmo-Colombian Indigenous component. This component drives these populations on a specific variability axis and derives from the local admixture of different ancestries of northern North American origin(s). Two of these ancestries were differentially associated to Pleistocene Indigenous groups that also moved into South America, leaving heterogenous genetic footprints. An additional Pleistocene ancestry was brought by a still unsampled population of the Isthmus (UPopI) that remained restricted to the Isthmian area, expanded locally during the early Holocene, and left genomic traces up to the present day. Pre-contact and modern genomes from Panama highlight the distinctiveness of the Isthmo-Colombian area; detail number, source, and impact of Indigenous American genomic ancestries at the continental level; and explain complex pre-Hispanic burials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1706-1723.e24
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Central America
  • Isthmian populations
  • Panama
  • ancient and modern DNA
  • anthropology and history
  • archaeogenomics
  • archaeology
  • genomic variation
  • indigenous Americans
  • population genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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