View Full Version : Austronesians in the South Pacific

Thursday, April 15th, 2004, 06:09 PM
Distribution of a 27-bp deletion in the band 3 gene in South Pacific islanders
Masako Kimura1, Moedrik Tamam2, Augustinus Soemantri2, Minato Nakazawa3, Yuji Ataka4, Ryutaro Ohtsuka5 and Takafumi Ishida1

(1) Human Genetics Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 1130033, Japan
(2) Department of Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia
(3) Department of Nursing, Yamaguchi Prefectural University, Yamaguchi, Japan
(4) Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan
(5) Department of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Received: 30 June 2003 Accepted: 29 September 2003 Published online: 15 November 2003

Abstract Distribution of a 27-bp deletion in the band 3 gene (B327) that causes Southeast Asian/Melanesian ovalocytosis has scarcely been studied in remote insular Southeast Asia and New Guinea. Here the presence of the B327 was surveyed among a total of 756 subjects from the indigenous populations inhabiting New Guinean islands and remote insular Southeast Asia by using a polymerase chain reaction method. In remote insular Southeast Asia where Austronesian-speaking peoples inhabit, the B327 frequency ranged between 0.04 and 0.15. In New Guinea Island, hinterland or Papuan groups showed the absence of the B327 or a very low gene frequency (0.01 in the Gidra) of the B327. However, groups of the coastal regions (Asmat, Sorong, and others) and of the nearby islands (Biak and Manus) where Austronesian infiltration had occurred showed substantial frequencies of the deletion (0.020.09). It is likely that the B327 was introduced into this region about 3,500 years ago with the arrival of Austronesian-speaking peoples. Once being introduced, the B327 may have been selected because of its resistance against malaria, while founder effect and genetic drift might have occurred in the New Guinean tribes with small population size, which helped to generate a variety of the B327 frequencies.


''In New Guinea, populations have
been linguistically classified into two main phyla: the
non-Austronesian group, also referred to as Papuan,
and the Austronesian group (Ruhlen 1991). Not only
linguistic, but morphologic and genetic studies also
suggest distinctive characteristics of the people of these
two phyla. Sea dwellers who bore the Lapita culture
introduced the Austronesian language as well as their
genetic traits into this region about 3,500 years ago
(Bellwood 1989). A recent study on mitochondrial DNA
suggested that the Dani and the Asmat shared a common
Papuan ancestor (Timmaseo-Ponzetta et al. 2002);
however, the B3D27 was found in the Asmat but not in
the Dani. Austronesian infiltration into New Guinea has
genetically been demonstrated in the Asmat and the
Gidra as well as in the populations inhabiting nearby
islands, but not in the Dani (Ohashi et al., 2000; Nakayama
et al. unpublished data). The distribution of the
B3D27 in New Guinea is geographically well coincided
with that of Austronesian genetic traits, such as HLADRB1.
If the invasion of the Austronesian-speaking
peoples was limited to the coastal region, the current
distribution of the B3D27 is agreeable. In fact, South
Pacific islands, such as Seram, Flores, and Timor where
high prevalence of the B3D27 are recorded in the present
study, are mainly occupied by Austronesian-speaking
peoples. It is thus conceivable that people from remote
insular Southeast Asia who bear the deletion dispersed
into New Guinea to introduce their genes.''

''There is another supportive evidence for the introduction
of the B3D27 by Austronesian-speaking peoples.
The presence of the B3D27 has been reported out of
Southeast Asia and Melanesia, such as in Madagascar
and South Africa, where Austronesian-speaking peoples
migrated or visited in the historical era (Rabe et al. 2002,
Coetzer et al. 1996). As the B3D27 is associated with
band 3 Memphis polymorphism (Lys56Glu), B3D27 is
thought to have occurred on the genetic background of
band 3 Memphis, which implies a single origin of the
B3D27 (Jarolim et al. 1991). Therefore, clustering or
sporadic distribution of the B3D27 is well interpreted by
the dispersal of Austronesian-speaking peoples.''


''Both photos are of modern day Austronesians. Austronesians are an ancient people who probably originated somewhere in Mongolia. They are the progenitors of many different cultures in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. From the photos above we can see that physically they developed various characteristics as the people evolved in isolated environments.''


Thursday, April 15th, 2004, 06:21 PM

Origins of Pacific Islanders

Submerged continents exposed during the lower sea levels of the last ice age

Dark blue indicates current coastlines, lighter blue indicates approximate coastlines when sea levels were 120m below modern levels between 30-18 thousand years ago.


Distribution map of languages belonging to different Austronesian subfamilies

The inset tree of Austronesian subfamilies is distributed geographically as shown on the map. Near Oceania are the lands first settled by 30000 years ago, by contrast Remote Oceania was first settled only 3500 years ago.


Different models for the origins of the inhabitant of remote Oceania

Metaphors have run riot as people have attempted to identify the homeland(s) for the first peoples to settle the isolated islands of remote Oceania. A 'continuum of reality' exists between the oft-cited models of Jared Diamond's 'Express Train' and John Terrell's entangled bank.



Sunday, April 18th, 2004, 09:05 PM

Sunday, April 18th, 2004, 09:24 PM

Monday, May 3rd, 2004, 02:42 AM
Austronesians came from southern China

Wednesday, May 5th, 2004, 01:37 AM
Austronesians are an ancient people who probably originated somewhere in Mongolia.
That's not true, they originated somewhere in South China.

Austronesians came from southern China