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K-State Today

January 6, 2015

Alfonso Durruty awarded grant to lead genetic study

Submitted by Bretton T. Giles

Marta Pilar Alfonso Durruty, assistant professor of sociology, anthropology and social work, has been granted a Genographic Award from the National Geographic Foundation.

The research project "Uncovering the Genetic Legacy of Fuegians and Patagonians Through Modern and Ancient DNA Analyses" aims to study the people of South America by analyzing prehistoric and historic nuclear and mitochondrial DNA lineages.

Southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego are of prime relevance to this problem as the area, arguable the Earth's southern end, provides a baseline against, which interpretations regarding the colonization of the Americas, including timing and rates of dispersion, can be ultimately compared. The genetic information collected in this study will allow researchers to ascertain the interaction patterns of inland and coastal populations in this region, as well as the origins of the native inhabitants of the Earth's end.