Tracing Taíno Ancestry in Puerto Rico

Tracing Taíno Ancestry in Puerto Rico is a paper by Margarita Santori López. While there are no new revelations or findings, she does a nice job of summarizing the Taíno mitochondrial research of Dr. Juan Carlos Martínez Cruzado.

BTW: I believe that the mentioned research that was to be published last year by Martinez Cruzado also showed Taíno mtDNA present in Hispaniola--albeit in a smaller percentage of the population than is the case in Puerto Rico.

The following is an excerpt:
At the beginning of his research Martínez Cruzado searched for Taíno ancestry by extracting mtDNA from bones. This technique was discarded because the results did not show variety in the genetic material extracted, and the technique was too expensive and complicated.

The professor, then decided to collect hair, saliva and blood samples from people with typical Taíno traits to obtain their mtDNA. Between 1998 and 1999, the investigation was based on analyzing the mtDNA of voluntaries from UPRM and Indieras, Maricao. The study revealed a higher incidence of Taíno DNA in people from Indieras whose physical appearance resembled Taínos: black hair and slanted eyes.

The professor then obtained funding from the National Foundation of the Science of United States to analyze the mtDNA of a representative sample in Puerto Rico. Martínez Cruzado found 19 maternal lineages; nine of which have enough frequency and variability to suggest that they go back to the pre-Columbian period. “All the members of each lineage share a great-great-grandmother. These great-great-grandmothers are responsible for all the lineages in the world and share an African great-great-grandmother,” explained the scientist.

The study shows that the majority of the Indian lineages in Puerto Rico originated in the Amazonic region.
See more posts on the Taíno.


  1. Anonymous4/08/2009

    Thanks for the information, its so important.

  2. Anonymous5/18/2009

    What will complicate this study is the written record showing that other Amerindians were introduced into Puerto Rico, both as Slaves in the earlier period, and as Mestizo refugees in the wake of South America's wars of Independence. Indian slaves were transported into Puerto Rico from Mexico and Guatemala, as well as from New England (King Phillip's war). I presume they were absorbed into the population at large. In the early 19th Century, "Spanish" refugees from Gran Colombia (Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador) were allowed to settle in areas such as the Lajas valley. Many of these were from long established families in their countries of origin, and had "Indian" genes going back to the conquest. So, shifting through that genetic soup to isolate the "Taino" will be difficult, if not impossible. If any Taino cultural traits had survived, we would at least know what "Boriquen" meant in Spanish.

    S.M. Darragh

  3. Anonymous5/24/2009

    To comment on the previous post-- most of other indigenous peoples who were brought by the Spaniards to Boriken would have been male, if they were brought as slaves.
    --- what was tested was mitochondrial DNA --which is passed down only through a matrilineal lineage (mother to daughter)
    BTW-- Taino "traits" have survived and the Taino people are still here
    Boriken doesn't mean anything in Spanish but in the language of the Taino People-- it means "Great Land of the Valiant & Noble Lord"

  4. Proud Taino8/16/2009

    Regardless of whether they where male of female, their genetic DNA would be DIFFERENT. Just because a person is of indigenous ancestry doesn't mean they share the same genes.

    Obviously the genetic heritage of the Mapuches of Chile is not the same as that of the Inuit of Canada.

    Please be at least halfway knowledgeable about this subject before airing an opinion.

  5. Anonymous9/22/2009

    I was born in NY both my parents were born in PR I took a Paternal DNA test with a result of Haplogroup: E1b1a does anyone know what the common DNA would be for indigenous people of Puerto Rico

  6. Anonymous10/08/2009

    Actually all Native American Tribes of North Central and South America share one of the haplo groups which are A,B,C D and X. The majority found in PR. are A and C. Most however have mutations that are only found in the Carribean.

  7. Anonymous10/21/2009

    Haplogroup E1b1a is the main haplogroup in sub-Saharan Africa, where it reaches frequencies of over 80% in West Africa.[2] It has been hypothesized that E1b1a originated in Northern Africa and then spread to sub-Saharan Africa with the Bantu expansion

  8. I was born in NYC,my whole entire family is from Puerto Rico (Arecibo,Isabela,Cayey. I know for sure I have spaniard in me, becuase they made sure it came down from generation to generation on both sides to know that, however I have a pic of my great-great-great grandmother and she looks very indian and so did my grandmother. My mother insist she was from spain and Indian was not something to talk about.I often get ask what part of South American I'm I from and when I went to Mexico, they called me Taino without knowing anything about me. Where can I buy the kit to get tested for Taino DNA from Puerto Rico, or however is done, and what test I'm I looking for? I really would appreciate someone's responds. Thanks

  9. Anonymous9/17/2011

    I found this post doing a search on the Jíbaro of Puerto Rico. Wiki says that they are of Canarian stock, but the imprestion I get is that they are a mestizo people of mostly Taina Indian and Guancho(male Canarian native) desent. Has there been a study done upon the yDNA and mtDNA of the Jíbaro group from the hill country of the Puerto Rican interior?

  10. Anonymous4/11/2012

    Both my Parents are PR. I just recently came in contact with El Concilio of Guatu ma cu A Boriken here in NY and the curiosity has overwhelmed me about my DNA. Where can i get a DNA kit?

    1. Anonymous6/06/2012

      You can go to familytree dna. They offer several types of dna kits.

  11. Anonymous7/15/2012

    genebase.com....im e1b1a