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Autosomal DNA

Published: 6th Nov, 2021


A technique based on 'autosomal DNA' has been used for the first time to identify the great-grandson and closest living relative of Sitting Bull, a prominent 19th century Native American leader.

What is Autosomal DNA?

  • Autosomal DNA is our non-gender-specific DNA.
  • The technique searches for ‘autosomal DNA’ in the genetic fragments extracted from a body sample.
  • The autosomal DNA technique can be used even when very limited genetic data are available, like in this case.
  • It could be used in the future to identify living descendants of other long-dead historical figures.

The usual technique

  • Usually, DNA techniques such as mitochondrial DNA, which means DNA passed from the mother or Y chromosome DNA passed down the male line, have been used in genetic searches.

Sitting Bull

  • Sitting Bull is most famous for his victory over US General George Armstrong Custer in the Battle of the Little Bighorn River in 1876.
  • Five companies of the US Army were completely wiped out in the battle, considered widely to be the most significant Native American military victory in US history.
  • Sitting Bull, who hailed from the Lakota branch of the Great Sioux Nation or Oceti Sakowin, was killed in 1890 by ‘Indian Police’, acting on behalf of the US government.


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