Whether they stepped upon the sands of an empty or crowded continent is at the heart of the DNA debate over the historical nature of the Book of Mormon.
Ugo Perego, an Italian-born researcher in human genetics, tries to look with a scientist's eye at the controversy surrounding DNA and the Book of Mormon.
He is a bit impatient with some of the strong conclusions of some critics and LDS apologists. There is too little data. He believes critics and apologists need to be cautious.
"I see that from both the critics' side and the LDS side there is quite a bit of misunderstanding on the subject," Perego said. "We should not fight over it. It seems to me to be almost a waste of time that people will actually entertain the thoughts that either DNA can prove or disprove the Book of Mormon."