Comparisons of mitochondrial DNA from ancient and modern Miami Indian populations


The purpose of this research endeavor was to determine the extent of genetic relatedness between an ancient and modern Miami Indian population. The modern Miami Indian nation in Indiana is currently in the process of regaining the federal recognition which was lost in the mid 1800's when part of the tribe was forced to relocate. A close genetic relationship between a modern and known ancient population could considerably strengthen the case to regain federal recognition. The human skeletal remains used for this experiment were excavated after partial exposure by flooding between 1989-1993 along the banks of the Mississinewa River in Wabash County. Through ethnohistoric dating techniques, the remains have been shown to represent a Miami Indian population living between 1790-1820. In order to yield amplifiable DNA several methods of isolation were attempted and compared. CTAB and phenol/chloroform/isoamyl alcohol (24:24:1) and a silica based purification method provided the best results yielding approximately 50-100 ng of amplifiable DNA from 3 of the 4 individuals. Purification of the DNA was found to be necessary following both isolation (Elu-Quik) prior to PCR amplification and after PCR but prior to sub-cloning(Gene-Clean). Regions of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome of isolated DNA were amplified using primers which are specific for the HIizcIl and AIui regions of the mtDNA genome. Although the mtDNA proved to be somewhat amplifiable, it was still too fragmented to be cloned, which prevented genetic analysis and comparison of the two populations. As a result, a discussion of alternative methods for looking at relatedness between populations has been included.Department of BiologyThesis (M.S.

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This paper was published in Cardinal Scholar.

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