Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-10 > 1160183290

From: "Dra. Ana Oquendo Pabón, MD" <>
Subject: [DNA] A Big Day for the Puerto Rican DNA Project
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 21:08:10 -0400

And now, please take a breather as we pause for a brief interlude…….

Hello, List:

Yesterday, almost three and a half years since the launch of the Puerto
Rican DNA Geographic Project, one of our biggest goals was achieved. We have
received word that FTDNA has agreed to and will designate as "of Taíno
ancestry" anyone who matches those with indigenous mtDNA in our project who
have oral history of Taíno ancestry or traditional documentation of Taíno

For all of us in this project, this is not only a monumental step for the
descendants of our indigenous people but of historical importance especially
since it is happening in a public DNA project. Additionally, DNA testees
whose roots are in Cuba or Santo Domingo who match anyone in our Puerto
Rican Project with oral history or traditional documentation of Taíno
ancestry may also request that their ancestry be listed as Taíno.

This has come about largely due to the unceasing and active recruitment of
participants to test not just their yDNA but their mtDNA and especially to
the very special persistence of select project members with known Taíno

A little history:

The Taíno, an Arawak people from the Orinoco-Amazon Delta region of South
America populated the Caribbean Islands. Puerto Rico, was one of their three
main centers of culture, Hispaniola (Santo Domingo/ Haiti), the second and
northern Venezuela, the third. Prior to the time of Columbus, they had
already reached and populated the eastern territory of Cuba. They were very
similar in culture to the Ciboney of the central and west coast of Cuba, the
Lucayas of the Bahamas and the aboriginals of Jamaica, all islands on which
they also lived. They were excellent sailors and traded by navigating
between the neighboring islands, the northern South American continent and
the Yucatan peninsula in the 100 men canoas which they invented. The words
canoe (canoa), huracán (hurricane), sabana, (savannah), barbecue,
(barbacoa), maíz (maize), hámaca (hammock) manatí (manatee), tabáco
(tobacco), iguana and other words persist in our Spanish language as well as
English. So, when you say one of these, remember they came from the Taíno

While on his second voyage to the New World, on the 3 of November, 1493,
while anchored in the bay of the island of Guadalupe, Cristóbal Cólon
(Columbus) embarked briefly to explore the small island with his men. During
this respite, he and his men discovered Taíno natives who had been captured
by the Caribe Indians who inhabited that island. The Caribes ruled from Togo
and the Windward Islands to our own island of Vieques. There were 12 native
females and two youths whom Columbus took on board after they passionately
implored him to take them west to their island named Boriquén. From the
10th of November, the ships continued westward finding so many small
islands, he named them the 11,000 Virgins. On the 19th of November, an
island came into view that was much larger and more beautiful than any of
the rest (those words are from the actual first historical account of the
encounter). Upon seeing their island and despite the distance, the Taíno
Indians who had been captured by the Caribs on Guadalupe, jumped excitedly
into the sea. They swam to the shores of their beloved Boriquén followed by
Columbus and his men. BIG mistake, that. (Only political statement I'll

Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista after Don Juan, the prince son
of Ferdinand and Isabela.

Puerto Rico had about 20 or more Caciques at the time that Columbus arrived
on his second voyage to the New World. Agüeybana who ruled in the
southwestern part of the island in what is now Guánica, was the Chief
Cacique of all the Taínos. The name Borikén means "Great land of the noble
lord". Cacique Guarionex ruled the island of Quisqueya or Santo Domingo.
Taino caciques were polygamous and had arranged marriages that served to
cement alliances between the cacique's lineage and those of his allies.
Right to rule was matrilineal. Women could also be caciques.

>From genetic studies on fossil remains, the Taíno people are known to
primarily belong to Haplogroups A and C. Consistently, throughout the
history of our project, on viewing their match pages, those with Haplogroup
A and C indigenous roots have, across the board, seen a list of people
mainly from within our group or names of other Puerto Ricans not in the
project. There have also been a few Dominicans and Cubans whose mtDNA have
also matched our members. There are an overwhelming number of exact HVR1 and
HVR2 matches among those within the Haplogroup A group as well as within the
Haplogroup C group. Of 140 mtDNA participants, 83 or 59.3% have indigenous
results. Within the indigenous group,

50 (60.2%) are in Haplogroup A (one group with 11 exact matches, two others
with 7 and 10)

29 (35%) are in Haplogroup C (Largest group is one with 17 exact matches.
This haplotype matches one of the fossil remains in the first article below)

3 (3.6 %) are in Haplogroup B (all 3 are exact matches)

2 (2.4%) are in Haplogroup D (both are exact matches)

Understandably, the reluctance to designate anyone at the outset in 2003 as
being of Taíno ancestry has been due to the fact that the indigenous roots
may have been derived from one of the several natives known to have been
brought to the island of Puerto Rico in the Post Colombian era. However, it
is a historical fact that the overwhelming majority of this small group was
native men brought from the surrounding islands brought to work in the mines
to dig for gold. A very scant few were women. With such a large number of
participants from families who have been endogamous from the 1500s to this
day, our members represent indigenous mtDNA inherited from ancient maternal
ancestors from every corner of our island. It is inconceivable that they be
anyone other than the descendants of our "extinct" Taíno people, the first
to greet the European to the New World.

We are grateful to all of our participants, from natives on the island, to
those on the mainland and as far away as Iraq and other overseas locations
who have been so active in upgrading their mtDNA.

Best Regards,


Maternal Grandfather and Great Grandmother - Haplogroup C (line documented
to c. 1650/1680)

Excellent Articles:

C. Lalueza-Fox, F.Luna-Calderon, F. Calafell, B Morera and J.Bertranpetit.
MtDNA from extinct Tainos and the peopling of the Caribbean.

C.Lalueza-Fox, M.T.P.Gilbert, A.J.Martiínez-Fuentes, F.Calafell,and
J.Bertranpetit. Mitochondrial DNA from Pre-Columbian Ciboneys From Cuba and
the Prehistoric Colonization of the Caribbean. American Journal of Physical
Anthropology 121:97–108 (2003)

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