Here's Why Nobody Is Exactly 'Mexican'
Population is too genetically diverse to define, say researchers
By Shelley Hazen, Newser User
Posted Jun 13, 2014 3:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – A new study has found that the population of Mexico is so genetically diverse that the term “Mexican” doesn’t really apply to anyone. Think about the differences between a European and an East Asian—that’s about how different a Mexican from the north is from a Yucatan native, reports NBC News. The study, published in the journal Science, reveals that indigenous Mexicans belonged to numerous pre-Columbian kingdoms that remained separate from each other for thousands of years—and that since then, population growth, migration, and genetic blending haven’t erased those differences, explains National Geographic. It doesn’t even matter that most Mexicans are mestizos, or some combination of indigenous, European, and African heritage. “Hidden among the European and African ancestry blocks, the indigenous genetic map resembles a geographic map of Mexico,” says one of the study’s authors.

Such ancient genetic heritage has modern implications for Mexicans’ health. Almost a million genetic variants were found among the study’s 1,000 participants, which can explain why Mexicans have varied rates of breast cancer and asthma, for example, adds the University of California San Francisco, whose researchers were involved in the study. Significantly, the study found a link between lung function and genetic heritage; when looking at lung capacity, researchers found that a mestizo from the west could appear to be 10 years younger than one from the Yucatan … even if they were the same age. The implications? Doctors shouldn’t base a diagnosis on someone’s general ethnic heritage alone. The findings may also lead to more exact diagnoses and therapies. (Click to read about an ancient skeleton that sheds light on the origins of Native Americans.)

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Here's Why Nobody Is Exactly 'Mexican' is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 64 comments
Jun 17, 2014 11:37 AM CDT
The majority of Mexicans are not "mestizo" (mixed European and Indian). The millions of illegals here show no European features at all. Small squat bodies and moon faces and jet black thick hair. Mexicans are probably only 10% mestizo.
Marked as Spam?
Jun 15, 2014 6:41 AM CDT
Speedy Gonzales is Mexican
Jun 14, 2014 10:50 AM CDT
This should be no surprise. If you have traveled in different parts of Mexico especially in the Mayan lands. You see clearly Mayan people The Mestizos are everywhere else. I always notice the less common Mayan women among the millions of Hispanics in Texas. Mayans are different. The Yucatan is a different world away from the resorts. Go see for yourself.