Project 6: Tracing the Origins of the Noir Marron in French Guiana

Fellow:  Cesar A. Fortes-Lima
Supervision:  Prof. Jean-Michel Dugoujon
Host Institution:  Laboratoire dʼAnthropologie Moléculaire et dʼImagerie de Synthèse, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse
Duration:  3 years – starting from 1 June 2012

The principal aim of this project is to retrace the genetic history of the Noir Marron in French Guiana, direct descendants of maroons who escaped their Dutch masters during the era of plantation slavery. The present day population of Noir Marron are unusual among African descendant populations in the sense that they represent a highly conserved population with extremely low levels of European and Amerindian admixture. To obtain a more nuanced picture of the genetic identity of the Noir Marron communities and their origins, we will conduct genome-wide genotyping, whole mitochondrial genome sequencing, as well as genotyping of Y-chromosome markers (STRs and SNPs). This study should lead to a comparative assessment of the high characterization of the genetic diversity of the Noir Marron communities from Suriname and French Guiana, within the wider context of other communities of African descendants with different colonial pasts in South America – such as African-descendants from Colombia and Brazil.

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