Ancient voyaging and Polynesian origins

Soares, Pedro, Rito, Teresa, Trejaut, Jean, Mormina, Maru, Hill, Catherine, Tinkler-Hundal, Emma, Braid, Michelle, Clarke, Douglas J., Loo, Jun-Hun, Thomson, Noel, Denham, Tim, Donohue, Mark, Macaulay, Vincent, Lin, Marie, Oppenheimer, Stephen and Richards, Martin B. (2011) Ancient voyaging and Polynesian origins. American Journal of Human Genetics, 88 (2). pp. 239-247. ISSN 0002-9297

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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: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Chemistry
Depositing User: Maru Mormina
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2011 11:20
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 01:03
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.01.009


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