Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: Collaborative Research: IPY: Reconstruction of Human Genetic History Along the North Slope (Award# 0732846)

PI: O'Rourke, Dennis H (orourke@ku.edu)
Phone: (785) 864.2642 
Institute/Department: U of Kansas, Department of Anthropology 
IPY Project? YES
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (akerttul@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Biology | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):
Data: http://nar.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/28/...
Data: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Data: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/projects/SNP/
NSF_Award_Info: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardN...

Science Summary:
This grant funds a collaborative effort to document geographic patterns of genetic variation in both prehistoric and modern human populations along the North Slope of Alaska and to assess how the ancient residents of arctic Alaska are related to contemporary Inupiaq populations throughout the circumarctic region. The research team will characterize maternally inherited mitochondrial (mt)DNA sequences, paternally inherited Y-chromosome markers, as well as biparentally inherited autosomal genetic markers in both the archaeologically derived prehistoric samples and the contemporary populations of the North coast of Alaska. Direct comparison of patterns of genetic variation in prehistoric populations and their possible modern descendants, and the placement of this biological variation in archaeological (temporal) context, is a powerful tool for the reconstruction of population history. Although the prehistoric genetic data will come from well-known archaeological contexts (e.g., Nuvuk), the research team will also directly date a subsample of the prehistoric material to confirm the temporal placement of the samples. They will also generate stable isotope data from the ancient samples to facilitate reconstruction of prehistoric diets, paleoecology of the region, and contribute to the reconstruction of ancient migration/colonization events. The data to be generated by this project, on both extant and prehistoric populations, will afford a definitive genetic characterization of the Inupiat people of the northwestern American arctic, and permit testing several hypotheses regarding the origin of the eastern arctic Inuit population. Additionally, the research undertaken here will permit a much more detailed analysis and understanding of the Thule expansion across the North American high arctic, one of the last great transcontinental migrations and colonization events. A fuller understanding of this human dispersal will permit us to identify genetic signatures of rapid colonization, replacement versus admixing colonization models, and help clarify the origin and history of North American arctic populations.

Logistics Summary:
For this IPY collaboration involving 0732846 (O'Rourke, U Utah, LEAD) and 0732857 (Hayes, Northwestern University), scientists will document geographic patterns of genetic variation in both prehistoric and modern human populations along the North Slope of Alaska; further, they will assess how the ancient residents of arctic Alaska are related to contemporary Inupiaq populations throughout the Arctic. The researchers will study contemporary DNA collected from North Slope communities such as Barrow, Point Hope, Wainwright, Nuiqsut, Pt. Lay, Kaktovik, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Atqasuk, Alaska. Ancient DNA will be collected from the Nuvuk site near Barrow; in addition, the researchers will study Birnirk and Kugursugaruk skeletal remains in the Smithsonian Museum collection. The two PIs on this project will each focus on a component of the work: Hayes will conduct current DNA investigations, while O'Rourke will study the ancient material. The logistics will be somewhat independent one from the other: for the ancient work, O’Rourke will stay in Barrow, traveling daily between his base and the Nuvuk site; for the contemporary DNA work, Hayes will make multiple visits with a local high school student to Alaskan communities each summer, sometimes in the company of O’Rourke. Field work will begin in February 2008 and continue seasonally through 2010. In 2008, O’Rourke will visit Barrow, basing there and traveling back and forth to the Nuvuk burial site. He will use a laboratory in the BARC to extract/analyze the DNA. Meanwhile, Hayes will collect DNA samples from study participants in Barrow and Atqasuk. In 2009, O’Rourke will return to Barrow in early June, working there on the Nuvuk burial site into mid-July. Meanwhile, Hayes and one team member will visit Wainwright and Nuiqsut. The Hayes team will travel to/from the villages via fixed-wing charter and spend several days (up to six) at each site collecting samples from participants. As needed, the PI will arrange assistance from local students. In 2010, the O’Rourke team will arrive in mid July and work on the Nuvuk burial site to the middle of August. The researchers will use ATVs and trucks to access research sites. With coordination assistance from Dr. Sheehan of BASC, Drs. Hayes and O’Rourke will visit Point Hope, Point Lay, Kaktovik and Anaktuvuk Pass, spending three days at each of the villages. They will present their work at each location, and, with facilitation by a local coordinator, collect DNA samples from study participants. As needed, the PI will arrange assistance from local students. In 2011, PI O’Rourke will work under a no-cost extension to complete work at the Nuvuk site. He will conduct DNA testing on samples from the burial site excavated by Dr. Anne Jensens' project (NSF grant 0726253). The work will be conducted in July along with the Jensen team. In June of 2012, O’Rourke and Hayes will return for about ~14- days to visit these communities: Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Barrow, Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, Point Lay, Point Hope and Wainwright. They will spend up to 2 days in each place, providing public talks and discussion. Within a year of the award’s completion the PIs will archive sequence data in GenBank, and the population frequency data in ALFRED and dbSNP. All three open-access databases are commonly used as data repositories for genetic data. The scientists will remove identifying information prior to submitting the data.

CPS will provide the following support: - Anaktuvuk Pass: lodging only - Atqasuk: lodging and vehicle - Barrow: conference room, coordinator, lodging, translator, vehicles - Wainwright: user days (lodging and meals) - Travel tickets: to all North Slope villages except for any travel on Alaska Airlines (FAI to BRW and OTZ to FAI). All other support will be covered by the PIs direct to grant via a supplement from the NSF.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2008Alaska - Atqasuk02 / 01 / 2008 05 / 31 / 20084
2008Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)02 / 01 / 2008 05 / 31 / 20084
2009Alaska - Nuiqsut06 / 10 / 2009 06 / 25 / 20092
2009Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)06 / 08 / 2009 07 / 12 / 20092
2009Alaska - Wainwright06 / 10 / 2009 06 / 25 / 20092
2010Alaska - Anaktuvuk Pass07 / 15 / 2010 08 / 15 / 20102
2010Alaska - Kaktovik07 / 15 / 2010 08 / 15 / 20102
2010Alaska - Point Hope07 / 15 / 2010 08 / 15 / 20102
2010Alaska - Point Lay07 / 15 / 2010 08 / 15 / 20102
2010Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)07 / 07 / 2010 08 / 15 / 20103
2011Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)07 / 06 / 2011 07 / 24 / 20111
2012Alaska - Anaktuvuk Pass06 / 21 / 2012 06 / 23 / 20122
2012Alaska - Atqasuk06 / 12 / 2012 06 / 14 / 20121
2012Alaska - Fairbanks06 / 20 / 2012 06 / 24 / 20122
2012Alaska - Kaktovik06 / 18 / 2012 06 / 20 / 20121
2012Alaska - Nuiqsut06 / 16 / 2012 06 / 18 / 20121
2012Alaska - Point Hope06 / 18 / 2012 06 / 20 / 20121
2012Alaska - Point Lay06 / 16 / 2012 06 / 18 / 20121
2012Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)06 / 10 / 2012 06 / 16 / 20122
2012Alaska - Wainwright06 / 12 / 2012 06 / 14 / 20121
 


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