16 nov. 2010

Antes de Colón, una mujer ya había puesto en contacto a europeos y americanos

Antes de Colón, una mujer ya había puesto en contacto a europeos y americanos

De acuerdo a estudios genéticos, cinco siglos antes de la llegada española a América, los vikingos llevaron una mujer americana.

Restos vikingos

Madrid (EFE). Cinco siglos antes de que Cristóbal Colón pisara por vez primera tierra americana, una mujer amerindia llevada por los vikingos hasta Islandia puso en contacto a europeos y americanos, según un estudio que concluye que dicha presencia precolombina en el Viejo Continente tiene además una base genética.

En el estudio científico, publicado en la revista American Journal of Physical Anthropology, han participado investigadores españoles del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), de la Universidad de Islandia y de la biofarmacéutica deCODE Genetics, de Reikiavik.

Los investigadores han llegado a tan novedosa e importante conclusión después de analizar la genética de cuatro familias islandesas, de las que hoy forman parte unas ochenta personas.

En sus genes, según la investigación, se encontró un linaje de origen amerindio, después de reconstruir sus genealogías hasta cuatro antepasados cercanos al año 1700.

Más concretamente, el linaje encontrado, denominado C1e, es mitocondrial, lo que significa que fue introducido en la isla por una mujer.

Hasta ahora, informa el CSIC en una nota, se conocía que los genes de los habitantes de Islandia procedían de los países escandinavos, Escocia e Irlanda, pero no se tenían noticias de que su origen pudiera ser más lejano, al otro lado del océano y mucho antes de que Colón llegara en 1492 al Nuevo Continente.

La idea de que los vikingos, viajeros incansables, llegaron al continente americano siglos antes que Colón, si bien es verdad a tierras más frías, no es una novedad. Restos arqueológicos y narraciones ancestrales así lo atestiguan.

Es el caso del poblado vikingo descubierto en L’Anse aux Meadows, en Terranova, Canadá, o textos medievales islandeses como la “Saga de los groenlandeses” y la de Erik el Rojo, ambas del siglo XIII y en las que se apunta que tan temibles guerreros comenzaron a llegar a los costas americanas a partir del siglo X.

“Como la isla quedó prácticamente aislada desde el siglo X -relata el investigador Carles Lalueza-Fox- la hipótesis más factible es que estos genes correspondiesen a una mujer amerindia que fue llevada desde América por los vikingos cerca del año 1000. Curiosamente -insiste- este hecho habría permanecido oculto porque esta mujer era un personaje anónimo”.

Fue hace cuatro años cuando se descubrió que cuatro islandeses, miembros de las familias investigadas, tenían un linaje mitocondrial C, ausente de Europa pero típico de los indígenas americanos y de los habitantes del este de Asia.

“Se pensó en un primer momento -continúa Lalueza-Fox, investigador del Instituto de Biología Evolutiva, un centro mixto del CSIC y de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona- que procedían de familias asiáticas establecidas recientemente en Islandia”.

Cuando se estudiaron las genealogías familiares “se descubrió que las cuatro familias provenían de cuatro antepasados situados entre 1710 y 1740 y de la misma región del sur de Islandia, cercana al enorme glaciar Vatnajökull”, añade.

Para determinar que esa pequeña parte de los genes del continente americano habrían pasado a Europa, los investigadores, destaca el CSIC, emplearon una base de datos familiares -deCODE- que recoge las genealogías de todos los islandeses y del 80% de todos los que han existido.

Una información que resulta de gran utilidad para el estudio de enfermedades genéticas complejas, advierte el CSIC.



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