Ancient voyaging and Polynesian origins

Soares, P. et al. (2011) Ancient voyaging and Polynesian origins. American Journal of Human Genetics, 88(2), pp. 239-247. (doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.01.009) (PMID:21295281) (PMCID:PMC3035714)

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The “Polynesian motif” defines a lineage of human mtDNA that is restricted to Austronesian-speaking populations and is almost fixed in Polynesians. It is widely thought to support a rapid dispersal of maternal lineages from Taiwan ∼4000 years ago (4 ka), but the chronological resolution of existing control-region data is poor, and an East Indonesian origin has also been proposed. By analyzing 157 complete mtDNA genomes, we show that the motif itself most likely originated >6 ka in the vicinity of the Bismarck Archipelago, and its immediate ancestor is >8 ka old and virtually restricted to Near Oceania. This indicates that Polynesian maternal lineages from Island Southeast Asia gained a foothold in Near Oceania much earlier than dispersal from either Taiwan or Indonesia 3–4 ka would predict. However, we find evidence in minor lineages for more recent two-way maternal gene flow between Island Southeast Asia and Near Oceania, likely reflecting movements along a “voyaging corridor” between them, as previously proposed on archaeological grounds. Small-scale mid-Holocene movements from Island Southeast Asia likely transmitted Austronesian languages to the long-established Southeast Asian colonies in the Bismarcks carrying the Polynesian motif, perhaps also providing the impetus for the expansion into Polynesia.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macaulay, Dr Vincent
Authors: Soares, P., Rito, T., Trejaut, J., Mormina, M., Hill, C., Tinkler-Hundal, E., Braid, M., Clarke, D.J., Loo, J.-H., Thomson, N., Denham, T., Donohoe, M., Macaulay, V., Lin, M., Oppenheimer, S., and Richards, M.B.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Statistics
Journal Name:American Journal of Human Genetics
Publisher:Elsevier (Cell Press)
ISSN (Online):1537-6605
Published Online:03 February 2011

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