Small populations of Melanesians — among the most genetically diverse people on the planet — have significant differences in their mitochondrial DNA that can be linked to where they live, the size of their home island and the language they speak, according to a study being published in the new online journal, Public Library of Science ONE (http://www.plosone.org).
The study, “Melanesian mtDNA complexity,” was lead by Jonathan Friedlaender, emeritus professor of anthropology at Temple University and appears in the Feb. 28 issue.
Friedlaender and his collaborators from Binghamton University, the Institute for Medical research in New Guinea and the University of Pennsylvania, examined mitochondrial DNA sequences from 32 diverse populations on four Melanesian islands, an island chain north and northeast of Australia that includes Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and New Guinea. The islands that were intensively covered were Bougainville, New Ireland, New Britain and New Guinea.
“Mitochondrial DNA has been a focus of analysis for about 15 years,” says Friedlaender. “It is very interesting in that it is strictly maternally inherited as a block of DNA, so it really allows for the construction of a very deep family tree on the maternal side as new mutations accumulate over the generations on ancestral genetic backgrounds.
“In this part of the world, the genealogy extends back more than 35,000 years, when Neanderthals still occupied Europe,” he adds. “These island groups were isolated at the edge of the human species range for an incredible length of time, not quite out in the middle of the Pacific, but beyond Australia and New Guinea. During this time they developed this pattern of DNA diversity that is really quite extraordinary, and includes many genetic variants that are unknown elsewhere, that can be tied to specific islands and even specific populations there. Others suggest very ancient links to Australian Aborigines and New Guinea highlanders.”
Friedlaender also says that the study gives a different perspective on the notion of the “apparent distinctions between humans from different continents, often called racial differences. In this part of the Pacific, there are big differences between groups just from one island to the next — one might have to name five or six new races on this basis, if one were so inclined. Human racial distinctions don’t amount to much.”
The study was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the National Geographic Society Exploration Fund and the Penn Faculty Research Fund.CONTACT:
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences