Washington: Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and Penn State University have discovered one of modern-day human's ancient lineages through the sequencing of genes.
Khoisan hunter/gatherers in southern Africa have always perceived themselves as the oldest people.
The scientists' team sequenced the genome of five living individuals from a hunter/gatherer tribe in southern Africa.
They compared them with 420,000 genetic variants across 1,462 genomes from 48 ethnic groups of the global population.
According to lead researcher professor Stephan Christoph Schuster, this is the first time that the history of mankind populations has been analysed and matched to Earth's climatic conditions over the last 200,000 years.
The team also found that there are individuals of the Khoisan population whose ancestors did not interbreed with any of the other ethnic groups for the last 150,000 years and that Khoisan was the majority group of living humans for most of that time until about 20,000 years ago.
"These high-quality genome sequences obtained from the tribesmen will help us better understand human population history, especially the understudied branch of mankind such as the Khoisan," Schuster pointed out.
The findings mean it is now possible to use genetic sequencing to reveal the ancestral lineage of any ethnic group even up to 200,000 years ago, Schuster added.
The new data gathered will also enable scientists to better understand how the human genome has evolved and hopefully lead to more effective treatment options for certain genetic diseases and illnesses, the authors concluded.
The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.