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Despite the fact that many sociologists say there is no such thing as race, many people are looking for their roots. An Indian tribe in California just got some amazing DNA evidence about where they came from. Medical researchers think that there are different races, and that the group you belong to could determine what genetic diseases could affect you.

Steve Chawkins reports in the Los Angeles Times that Santa Barbara historian John Johnson, who has long been studying the history of the local Chumash Indian tribe, has begun taking DNA samples from tribal members. He has discovered that some of them are related to people who settled the coast of America--from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, around 10,000 years ago. This means that these Indians, at least, may not have crossed over the Siberian land bridge from Asia around 17,000 years ago. Instead they probably came up from the south, since their DNA is similar to that found in indigenous people in Mexico, Ecuador and Chile.

Now we know that native Americans may have originally come here both from the North and the South. Using DNA evidence, researchers have divided modern Europeans into two groups as well: a Northern group and a Southern, or Mediterranean one. The Northern group includes people with English, Irish, German, Swedish and Ukranian ancestry. The Southern grouping included people from Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, as well as Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. These groups were historically divided by the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges.

Geneticist Michael Seldin says that this new knowledge will enable scientists to "find genes that cause common diseases." In addition to future medical applications, the data are also of interest to anthropologists who study historical human migrations.

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Some people think that there are different races of aliens as well. and Whitley explores this in his new novel The Grays. If you want someone to talk to about this?and many other concerns?join the conversation--subscribe today!

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