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Melanesia

Wednesday 12 November 2003

Modern humans reached Southeast Asia and Oceania in one of the first dispersals out of Africa. The resulting temporal overlap of modern and archaic humans-and the apparent morphological continuity between them-has led to claims of gene flow between Homo sapiens and H. erectus. (11170891)

Much more recently, an agricultural technology from mainland Asia spread into the region, possibly in association with Austronesian languages. (11170891)

- Using detailed genealogical study of Y chromosome variation, the majority of current Austronesian speakers trace their paternal heritage to Pleistocene settlers in the region, as opposed to more-recent agricultural immigrants. (11170891)

- A fraction of the paternal heritage, however, appears to be associated with more-recent immigrants from northern populations. (11170891)

- The northern Neolithic component is very unevenly dispersed through the region, with a higher contribution in Southeast Asia and a nearly complete absence in Melanesia. (11170891)

- Contrary to claims of gene flow (under regional continuity) between H. erectus and H. sapiens, no ancestral Y chromosome lineages have been found in a set of 1,209 samples. The finding excludes the possibility that early hominids contributed significantly to the paternal heritage of the region. (11170891)

- The among-group variation is structured by island, island size, and also by language affiliation. The more isolated inland Papuan-speaking groups on the largest islands have the greatest distinctions, while shore dwelling populations are considerably less diverse (at the same time, within-group haplotype diversity is less in the most isolated groups). Persistent differences between shore and inland groups in effective population sizes and marital migration rates probably cause these differences. (17327912)

- Coalescence estimates based on synonymous transitions in the coding region suggest an initial settlement and expansion in the region at approximately 30-50,000 years before present (YBP), and a second important expansion from Island Southeast Asia/Taiwan during the interval approximately 3,500-8,000 YBP. (17327912)

Features

- early population: 30 000-40 000 years BP
- long-term isolation
- austronesian expansion: 3 500 years BP

See also

- Melanesian mtDNA phylogenies
- haplogroups

  • haplogroup E

References

- Friedlaender JS, Friedlaender FR, Hodgson JA, Stoltz M, Koki G, Horvat G, Zhadanov S, Schurr TG, Merriwether DA. Melanesian mtDNA Complexity. PLoS ONE. 2007 Feb 28;2:e248. PMID: 17327912

- Capelli C, Wilson JF, Richards M, Stumpf MP, Gratrix F, Oppenheimer S, Underhill P, Pascali VL, Ko TM, Goldstein DB. A predominantly indigenous paternal heritage for the Austronesian-speaking peoples of insular Southeast Asia and Oceania. Am J Hum Genet. 2001 Feb;68(2):432-43. PMID: 11170891

- Kayser M, Brauer S, Weiss G, Schiefenhovel W, Underhill PA, Stoneking M. Independent histories of human Y chromosomes from Melanesia and Australia. Am J Hum Genet. 2001 Jan;68(1):173-190. PMID: 11115381