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Search for Empire Builders

Researchers in Peru have used DNA samples to try trace the origins of the Incas, Agence France-Presse reports.

According to AFP, here are two main legends describing the origins of the Incas, who built a vast pre-Columbian empire called Tahuantinsuyo in South America. One legends says couple living near Lake Titicaca in the Puno region of Peru were the first of the Incas, while another says a pair of brothers from Pacaritambo mountains in the Cusco region of Peru were.

Researchers led by Ricardo Fujita from the University of San Martin de Porresit in Lima collected DNA samples from modern-day indivduals who are thought to be descended from Inca rulers based on documented registries. As they report in Molecular Genetics and Genomics, they conducted a genetic analysis of 18 of those individuals to find two Q-M3* Y-STR clusters, one dubbed AWKI-1 and the other AWKI-2. When they compared their findings to a larger database, they found the AWKI-1 cluster contained individuals from near Lake Titicaca and AWKI-2 included those from Cusco.

This suggests to Fujita and his colleagues that both legends might have an element of truth. "After three years of tracking the genetic fingerprints of the descendants, we confirm that the two legends explaining the origin of the Inca civilization could be related," Fujita tells AFP.