Genetic History of Mice in the Azores

Research Findings

2015 Genetic Study on House Mice:

    Significance: The house mice on the Azores were studied to trace human migration due to their role as common stowaways on boats.

    Genetic Relationships: Most house mice on the Azores are genetically related to mice in Iberia, aligning with the known history of Portuguese colonization.

    Clade F Discovery: On two islands, Santa Maria and Terceira, a significant number of house mice belong to clade F, which is rare in Iberia.

    Clade F Lineage:

      Geographical Association: Clade F mice are typically found in Norway, Northern Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands.

      Historical Context: This clade is closely associated with the medieval Norse, indicating these mice traveled on Norse (Viking) boats.


        Potential Norse Presence: The presence of clade F mice suggests that Norse boats might have reached the Azores, potentially bringing these mice with them.

        Contradiction to Portuguese Discovery: This genetic evidence contradicts the belief that the Portuguese were the first humans to arrive on the Azores in 1427.


          Need for Archaeological Evidence: Without unambiguous Norse artifacts, it cannot be definitively stated that the Norse were the earlier inhabitants. The presence of clade F mice alone is not conclusive proof.

          The genetic history of mice on the Azores offers intriguing clues about early human activity on the islands, potentially pointing to Norse exploration predating the Portuguese arrival. However, further archaeological evidence is necessary to confirm these findings.


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