Home > Technical section > Biology > Molecular biology > Population genetics > By geographic areas > Oceania > 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#)


- 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


- 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#