Khoisan people, currently living in the southern region of Africa have had a new study conducted on their genes. The result proves that the genetics of the group have remained unaltered for 150,000 years but also distinct from other African residents.
This is undoubtedly one of mankind’s most ancient genetic lineages, and the only one up to this date to have stayed the same for so long. Reports state that this discovery marks the first time that the genetic history of our species has been matched to the Earth’s climatic conditions.
The study conducted was led by Professor Stephan Christoph Schuster, a geneticist and biochemist from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and published a research paper in Nature Communications on he subject. The research team sequenced the complete genomes of five Khoisan individuals from Namibia and compared them to the DNA of over 1,400 other genomes from around the world, summing up to 48 ethnic groups. The Khoisan population, estimated at 100,000, present the genetics that were most common among humans 150,000 years ago and have stayed the same since due to the community never breeding or intermixing their genes with other races. It is believed that genetic diversity was a result of migrations and interbreeding that started somewhere around 20,000 years ago.
The Khoisan people are believed to be one of the oldest on the planet, having remained isolated for so long. They exhibit little to no incorporation of new genetic information thanks to their habit of only taking wives from within the group. This helped maintain their genes pure and even reinforce the genetic information they possess. Scientists believe that their legacy is now being endangered by external events, affecting their life as hunter-gatherers.
This discovery can prove to be groundbreaking, considering the opportunity to research the Khoisan gene as starting point for understanding the earliest modern human’s biology before it set out to migrate to other places around the globe and inherently inviting DNA modifications to occur.
The Khoisan tribes from Southern Africa have always perceived themselves as being the oldest people – and the study conducted by the researchers seems to prove they are correct. Advanced computer analysis of the Khoisan tribespeople show that they, along with their ancestor, have been the largest populations since their separation from the rest of the tribes, who decided to migrate. The ancestors of the non-Khoisan groups, which includes Bantu-speakers and many non-Africans, experienced declines in population following the schism and eventually lost up to half of their genetic diversity.