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AFP
May 28, 2018
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Scientists use DNA to trace origins of Inca emperors

World

AFP
May 28, 2018

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LIMA: Researchers in Peru believe they have traced the origins of the Incas -- the largest pre-Hispanic civilisation in the Americas -- through the DNA of the modern-day descendants of their emperors.

From their ancient capital Cusco, the Incas controlled a vast empire called Tahuantinsuyo, which extended from the west of present-day Argentina to the south of Colombia. They ruled for more than two hundred years before being conquered by the invading Spanish in the 16th century.

The empire included the mountain-top citadel of Machu Picchu in modern-day Peru -- now a Unesco World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction. After becoming fascinated by the Inca culture, their organisational skills and their mastery of engineering, researchers Ricardo Fujita and Jose Sandoval of Lima’s University of San Martin de Porresit became interested in the genetic profile of their descendants.

They said the aim of the study, the first of its kind, was to reveal whether there was a unique Inca patriarch. "It’s like a paternity test, not between father and son but among peoples," Fujita told AFP. The scientists wanted to verify two common legends about the origin of the Incas.

One attributes them to a couple from around Lake Titicaca, in Peru’s Puno region. The other identifies the first Incas as the Ayar brothers from the Pacaritambo mountain in the Cusco region.

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