Question: What effect did the 90% death rate in the New World after European contact have on genetics and its relationship to the Book of Mormon?

Table of Contents

Question: What effect did the 90% death rate in the New World after European contact have on genetics and its relationship to the Book of Mormon?

Approximately ninety percent of the Amerindian population died out following contact with the Europeans

Approximately ninety percent of the Amerindian population died out following contact with the Europeans; most of this was due to infectious disease against which they had no defense. [1]

It may be that eliminating 90% of the pre-contact gene pool has significantly distorted the true genetic picture of Lehi's descendants

Since different genes likely provide different resistances to infectious disease, it may be that eliminating 90% of the pre-contact gene pool has significantly distorted the true genetic picture of Lehi's descendants. Studies of pre-Columbian human remains have not shown any extinct haplotypes—as one would expect given the small contribution made by a Lehite colony. Gene frequency, however, could well have been altered by such a dramatic die-off, suggesting that caution should be used in assuming that modern Amerindian populations are an identical match for pre-Columbian gene frequencies.

Notes

  1. Suzanne Austin Alchon, 'A Pest in the Land: New World Epidemics in a Global Perspective,' Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, c2003.