The genomic history of the indigenous people of the Canary Islands

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Fulltext

    Final published version, 6.7 MB, PDF document

  • Javier G. Serrano
  • Alejandra C. Ordóñez
  • Jonathan Santana
  • Elías Sánchez-Cañadillas
  • Matilde Arnay
  • Amelia Rodríguez-Rodríguez
  • Jacob Morales
  • Javier Velasco-Vázquez
  • Verónica Alberto-Barroso
  • Teresa Delgado-Darias
  • M. Carmen Cruz de Mercadal
  • Juan Carlos Hernández
  • Marco A. Moreno-Benítez
  • Jorge Pais
  • Harald Ringbauer
  • Maria Pino-Yanes
  • Mariano Hernández Ferrer
  • Carlos D. Bustamante
  • Rosa Fregel

The indigenous population of the Canary Islands, which colonized the archipelago around the 3rd century CE, provides both a window into the past of North Africa and a unique model to explore the effects of insularity. We generate genome-wide data from 40 individuals from the seven islands, dated between the 3rd–16rd centuries CE. Along with components already present in Moroccan Neolithic populations, the Canarian natives show signatures related to Bronze Age expansions in Eurasia and trans-Saharan migrations. The lack of gene flow between islands and constant or decreasing effective population sizes suggest that populations were isolated. While some island populations maintained relatively high genetic diversity, with the only detected bottleneck coinciding with the colonization time, other islands with fewer natural resources show the effects of insularity and isolation. Finally, consistent genetic differentiation between eastern and western islands points to a more complex colonization process than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4641
JournalNature Communications
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ID: 363439516