Millions of Africans were taken from their homelands and forcibly spread throughout the Americas fromthe 15th to the 19th century
. Today, the descendants of these original Africans continue to live throughout the Americas, but centuries of separation from Africa have vastly changed their genomes. In a new study, researchers have begun to unravel the genome of Africans living in the Americas to better understand what caused their DNA changes, and how these changes affect this population's health.
In the study, now published in the online journal Nature Communications, researchers sequenced the genome of 642 individuals of African ancestry living in North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. The results were then compared with the DNA of Yoruba-speaking individuals from Ibadan, Nigeria in West Africa, an area from where many of the first Africans in the Americas originally hailed. This sequencing will hopefully reveal how the DNA of Africans in Africa differs from Africans living in the Americas, Science Mag reported.