Table of Contents
Journal of Anthropology
Volume 2014, Article ID 729120, 8 pages
Research Article

Paleogenetic Studies in Guajajara Skeletal Remains, Maranhão State, Brazil

1Laboratório de Paleogenética/Laboratório de Genética Humana e Médica, ICB, Cidade Universitária Prof. José da Silveira Netto, UFPA, Rua Augusto Corrêa, 01 Guamá, 66075-970 Belém, PA, Brazil
2ENSP/Fiocruz, Avenida Brasil, 4365 Manguinhos, 21040-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
3Museu Nacional/UFRJ, Quinta da Boa Vista, São Cristóvão, 20940-040 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
4Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH), UFPA, Rua Augusto Corrêa, 01 Guamà, 66075-970 Belèm, PA, Brazil
5CRIA, FCSH, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Campolide, 1099-085 Lisboa, Portugal

Received 12 November 2013; Revised 3 April 2014; Accepted 9 April 2014; Published 14 May 2014

Academic Editor: Santos Alonso

Copyright © 2014 Daniela Leite et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the early 17th century, French and Portuguese colonizers and Jesuit priests settled in the state of Maranhão and made contact with the Guajajara, an ethnic group that lived along the margins of the Pindaré River. The Guajajara maintained contact with Brazilian national society over the centuries, including with Brazilian admixed populations, and with African slaves that flocked towards the region from the 18th century onwards. The present study investigates the origins of this admixture using mitochondrial genetic variability. The bones of 12 individuals investigated, which are currently part of the collection of the National Museum, were tested for genetic diversity. aDNA was extracted by the phenol-chloroform method and by DNA IQ (Promega, Madison, WI, USA). Amplification of the HVS I region was performed by PCR, followed by direct sequencing using the Big Dye kit (Life Technologies, Foster City, CA, USA). This region was found to represent haplogroups of Amerindians (A, C, and D) and Africans (L, L1b, L1c, and L3). The presence of African haplogroups in Guajajara bones from as early as the 18th century is consistent with historical and anthropological data, suggesting the admixture with Africans and/or Afrodescendants. Therefore, this study demonstrates that women with African haplogroups were introduced into the Guajajara population.