Living descendant of Sitting Bull confirmed by analysis of DNA from the legendary leader’s hair – ScienceBlog.com


A man’s claim to be the great-grandson of legendary Native American leader Sitting Bull has been confirmed using DNA extracted from Sitting Bull’s scalp lock. This is the first time ancient DNA has been used to confirm a familial relationship between living and historical individuals.

The confirmation was made possible using a new method to analyse family lineages using ancient DNA fragments, developed by a team of scientists led by Professor Eske Willerslev of the University of Cambridge and Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre. The results are published today in the journal Science Advances.

The technique searches for ‘autosomal DNA’ in the genetic fragments extracted from a body sample. Since we inherit half of our autosomal DNA from our father and half from our mother, this means genetic matches can be checked irrespective of whether an ancestor is on the father or mother’s side of the family.

Autosomal DNA from Lakota Sioux leader Sitting Bull’s scalp lock was compared to DNA samples from Ernie Lapointe and other Lakota Sioux. The resulting match confirms that Lapointe is Sitting Bull’s great-grandson, and his closest living descendant.

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Sitting Bull’s scalp lock. Credit: Eske Willerslev.

“Autosomal DNA is our non-gender-specific DNA. We managed to locate sufficient amounts of autosomal DNA in Sitting Bull’s hair sample, and compare it to the DNA sample from Ernie Lapointe and other Lakota Sioux – and were delighted to find that it matched,” said Professor Eske Willerslev in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology and Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, senior author of the report.

“Over the years, many people have tried to question the relationship that I and my sisters have to Sitting Bull” – Ernie Lapointe

Sitting Bull’s great-grandson Ernie Lapointe. Credit E. Lapointe

Continue reading: Living descendant of Sitting Bull confirmed by analysis of DNA from the legendary leader’s hair – ScienceBlog.com

About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at http://www.sambaman.org.uk
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4 Responses to Living descendant of Sitting Bull confirmed by analysis of DNA from the legendary leader’s hair – ScienceBlog.com

  1. He does resemble him a lot. But how can he be his great grandson? Sitting Bull was born in 1831, there must be at least 4-5 generations between them.

    Like

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