Sitting Bull’s great-grandson is identified with new DNA technique

Home DNA tests have become more and more popular in recent years, and they have provided a lot of happy moments for those taking them. With the help of more advanced tests and technologies, scientists have recently helped Ernie LaPointe, a South Dakota native to discover his ancestors.
The Native American author discovered that his descendence can be traced back to Sitting Bull, the great Lakota chief. Sitting Bull died in 1890, but due to advanced DNA testing technology, LaPointe who is 73-years-old now managed to find out more about his great-grandfather.
This innovative new method of DNA analysis is based on the concept of „autosomal DNA” which are the genetic parts of fragments from a sample. It’s an in-depth analysis that can test ancestry for any side of the family the ancestor comes from. The more traditional DNA test is looking for the Y chromosome that can be traced back to the parental line. If you would like to learn more about this groundbreaking new technology or DNA testing, there are many interesting articles published in the Science Advances journal.
This recent investigation was published in the October issue and the project was led by Professor Eske Willerslev from the University of Cambridge and the Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre.

Lock of hair from Sitting Bull’s scalp that was DNA tested. (Photo: Eske Willerslev)

The analysis was done using autosomal DNA extracted from genetic fragments in the hair lock, which was in poor condition after being stored for more than a century at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington. It was returned to LaPointe and his sisters in 2007.

“To our knowledge, this is the first published example of a familial relationship between contemporary and a historical individual that has been confirmed using such limited amounts of ancient DNA across such distant relatives,” according to the study that published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

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