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RESEARCH CONCLUSIONS:  New genetic research led by the Genographic Project consortium shows a distinctive ancestry for the Uros populations of Peru and Bolivia that predates the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and may date back to the earliest settlement of the Altiplano, or high plain, of the central Andes some 3,700 years ago.
WHO ARE THE UROS?: The Uros are a self-identified ethnic group, about 2,000 of whom live in Peru, many of them on artificial floating islands on Lake Titicaca. QUOTES FROM AUTHORS: “We have found a concrete connection to the distinctive past for the Uros,” said Fabricio R. RESEARCH METHODS: Representatives of the Genographic Project, which uses advanced, multi-locus DNA analyses to help answer fundamental questions about human origins, collaborated with 388 indigenous people from Peru and Bolivia, including Peru’s Los Uros community and Bolivia’s Uru-Chipaya and Uru-Poopo communities, swabbing their cheeks to collect DNA samples.
BACKGROUND ON UROS: The Andean highlands are home to a vast indigenous population of several million, mostly Aymaras and Quechuas. Today, the Uros of Peru and Bolivia are also known as Qhas Qut suni, which means “people of the lake” in the ancient Uruquilla language.
Written by CeCe Moore, an independent professional genetic genealogist and television consultant. Genographic Project in partnership with  Family Tree DNA and the genetic genealogy community.
Amphisbaenians are a group of burrowing lizards, and one of the most mysterious groups of reptiles. Muller used a CT scanner to get a glimpse of Cryptolacerta’s body, which was fully preserved except for the tip of its tail. Muller compared Cryptolacerta’s features with those of other modern reptiles, and produced a family tree that linked them together.
This supports the genetic view: amphisbaenians are closely related to lacertids, and their superficial similarity to snakes is a great example of convergent evolution. With its legs and squat body, Cryptolacerta clearly wasn’t the specialist burrower that the amphisbaenians have become. Many burrowing animals, from worms to legless lizards (and there are at least 8 groups of those), have long bodies and no limbs, so it’s tempting to think that these features are a prerequisite for an underground life. A large phylogenetic study nests Cryptolacerta with another burrowing lizard with a reinforced skull, Heloderma, the Gila monster.
When wounded, poisonous nightshade can be sweet, a revelation that has scientists reconsidering the evolution of nectar. Top picks You can sign up for The Ed’s Up—a weekly newsletter of my writing plus some of the best stuff from around the Internet.
Who We ArePhenomena is a gathering of spirited science writers who take delight in the new, the strange, the beautiful and awe-inspiring details of our world. Erika Engelhaupt is the online science editor at National Geographic and manages the Phenomena blog network. Maryn McKenna is an award-winning journalist and the author of Superbug and Beating Back the Devil.
DisclaimerThe views expressed are those of the writer and are not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. With HIV-like viruses also wreaking havoc among felines, from domestic moggies to big cats, the research could improve animal health.

Twenty-two attempts led to the birth of five kittens a€“ three of which survived, the journal Nature Methods reports.Two were healthy but one suffered medical problems, although the researchers do not believe they were linked to the genetic manipulation. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Despite the fact that the Uros today share many lineages with the surrounding Andean populations, they have maintained their own divergent genetic ancestry.
Santos, professor at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, the leading coauthor of the paper.
Sandoval at the Universidad San Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru, first author of the paper and a Peruvian Aymara born on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Researchers then analyzed Y-chromosome and mitochondrial-DNA data to infer genetic relationships among the Uros and their neighboring populations.
The Uros are a minority group that consider themselves descendants of the ancient Urus, who are generally recognized as the first major ethnic group to have settled in the Andes, specifically the Lake Titicaca watershed. Their economy was originally based on aquatic resources, especially fishing, bird hunting and gathering of bird eggs. Written for the non-scientist, YGG is the best source for unbiased news on the major genealogy DNA testing companies. It is long and sinuous, it lives underground, and its flanks look like they’re lined with rings. They’re named after Amphisbaena, a Greek serpent with a second head on its tail – indeed, amphisbaeneans do have tails that look a bit like their heads. Their bones suggest that they are close relatives of snakes and obviously, neither group has any legs. Its huge skull has many features that are characteristic of amphisbaenians, including small eye sockets, indicating tiny eyes, and heavy thickened bone, making it strong and inflexible. Cryptolacerta itself sat at the base of the amphisbaenean branch – it was an early member of the group.
By comparing its shape to other lizards, Muller thinks that it spent its days hidden among the leaf litter, burrowing from time to time when the opportunity arose. But Cryptolacerta, with its reinforced skull, tells a different story – it suggests that early amphisbaenians adapted to a digging lifestyle headfirst.
Phenomena is hosted by National Geographic magazine, which invites you to join the conversation. No Place Like Home is her space to talk about space—from other worlds to the fabric of the universe.
Laelaps is his writing laboratory, dedicated to sifting through natural history for tales of evolution, extinction, and survival.
Not Exactly Rocket Science is his hub for talking about the awe-inspiring, beautiful and quirky world of science to as many people as possible. The genetically modified cats' creators say the research will speed up the search for vaccines and treatments against HIV, the Aids virus that has claimed more than 30million lives around the world.
In future, people could buy pets that are resistant to numerous diseases, removing the need for frequent and expensive trips to the vet for vaccination.Novelty glow-in-the-dark breeds are also a possibility.

The anti-viral gene was also present and cells taken from the kittens were able to resist infection with FIV better than those from normal cats. According to some anthropologists, the Uros are descendants of the first settlers of the Altiplano — the Andean plateau — yet their origin has been subjected to considerable academic debate.
The project leaders compared the Uros’ haplotype (genetic lineages) profiles with those of eight Aymara-, nine Quechua- and two Arawak-speaking populations from the western region of South America. As a result of successive invasions by Aymara populations and the Incas, an increasing proportion of the Uros became confined to floating islands and small villages around the lake.
Using the lake’s reeds for construction of islands, houses and handicrafts for tourism, the Uros have become a fascination to visitors, and the Altiplano is now Peru’s second most important tourist destination. In the future, orders will  also be accepted through the Family Tree DNA website (no date is set for this option).
But it is not an earthworm – after all, it has a skeleton, jaws, scales, and two stubby legs. They are meat-eaters, and they search for their prey underground, burrowing through the soil with strong, reinforced skulls.
But their genes tell a different story – they say that the amphisbaenians are most closely related to the lacertids, a common group of lizards.
The quarry has no shortage of famous former residents, including the over-hyped Darwinius, the giant bird Gastornis, and leaves that were scarred by fungus-infected ants. Meanwhile, the amphisbaenians and lacertids sat on adjacent branches, far away from the snakes. This concealed lifestyle may have been an intermediate step between open-air scurrying and fulltime burrowing. Those from Peru have long claimed to descend from the ancient Urus (Uruquilla speakers), using their differentiated ethnic identity to assert rights and prerogatives for their use of Titicaca’s natural resources. Although this is not a traditional relative finder matching tool and is not meant to replace Family Finder, it will cluster you to your closest genetic matches and you will be able to send an anonymous email to correspond with them (not functional at launch).
Most species are completely legless, but four of them – the ajolotes (including the one in the photo above) – have bizarre, stunted arms. Now, Johannes Muller from Berlin’s Natural History Museum has found a fossil lizard whose features might settle the debate in favour of the lacertid camp. Its body, however, looks far more lizard-like – it obviously has four legs, albeit small ones.
The Uros have historically been the target of discrimination by the pre-Inca, Inca and the Spanish, and this continues today. Some people have alleged that the Uros disappeared a long time ago and that the new islanders have conjured up an ancient heritage in order to attract tourists and receive special recognition and rights.

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