For many years now, people have claimed that the Book of Mormon cannot be true because published genetic studies based on mitochondrial and Y-chromosome research seem to contradict migration accounts found in the Book of Mormon.
To be fair, scientists have put a lot of effort into studying human migration patterns using uni-parental (mtDNA, Y-chromosome) DNA, and they have published a very large amount of detailed information to support their consensus that Native Americans are descended exclusively from far-eastern ancestry and that they have been genetically isolated from old-world populations for many thousands of years.
On the other hand, LDS scholars have argued for many years that uni-parental DNA studies lack the appropriate resolution to rule-out the migration history and genetic descent described in the Book of Mormon, but detractors have been quick to say that these LDS scholars are incorrect and are simply unwilling to accept scientifically-proven facts.
These arguments against the Book of Mormon are based upon one critical thing: That the scientific community has the right tools and has done enough research to reasonably believe that all Native Americans are descended exclusively from far-eastern populations, to the exclusion of all other populations.
New Studies Paint A Different Picture of Native American Ancestry
Two prominent and completely separate scientific studies that were published during the last two weeks prove that Native Americans have genetic ancestry that has never shown up in the uni-parental studies that scientists have been relying on in order to understand the migration history of the Americas.
One study is being published by the Journal Nature (found here) and the other is being published by Science Magazine (found here). Both studies show that Austro-Melanesians contributed significantly to Native American ancestry.
This is a major shift in the debate surrounding the peopling of the Americas.
While these studies do not correlate Native American ancestry to migrations from the middle-east like the Book of Mormon describes, they do prove one important thing related to Book of Mormon studies: That previous mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA studies have painted a very limited picture of Native American ancestry and that scientists have been hasty to conclude that these studies had detected the substantial ancestral populations of Native Americans.
For more than two decades scientists have been coming to this false conclusion. It turns out that it simply isn’t true. Substantial genetic contributions came from places these previous studies had ruled out.
Again, these new studies do nothing to prove that Native American DNA came from the middle-east. For students of the Book of Mormon, the lesson to take away from this is what many LDS scholars have been saying all along: While genetic studies can shed light on many things, they are very limited in their ability to disprove the Book of Mormon.