WELLINGTON, (Xinhua) --
Genome sequencing of remote peoples of the
Pacific and Australia is shedding light on how early humans
moved out of Africa and spread across the world, New Zealand
scientists said Thursday.
Genome sequencing of
Papuan and Australian aboriginal people supported the theory
that humans emigrated from Africa in multiple waves, rather than
a single wave, and possibly earlier than previously believed,
suggested that non-Africans could trace their ancestry back to a
single migration event around 40,000 to 75,000 years ago.
University molecular anthropologist Professor Murray Cox, who
co-authored a new international study, said it uncovered an
earlier and now largely extinct wave of humans that moved from
Africa to Eurasia between 100,000 and 120,000 years ago.
While this early
wave of humans was extinct, DNA analysis of modern Papuans
revealed at least 2 percent of their genetic material was
retained from the earlier population, Cox said in a statement.
“The study is able
to provide some remarkable results and puts forward a strong
case for more investigations into the DNA of smaller, more
remote ethnic groups,” said Cox.
under-explored regions from a genetic standpoint, as traditional
studies have focused mainly on the standard categories of
Europeans, Asians and Africans. While these have been a treasure
trove of knowledge of our early movements and makeup, it’s now
time to cast the net wider and discover what these other regions
have to tell us.”
would clarify the timing and route followed during such an early
expansion and the data would be used to analyze modern human
immunity to certain diseases or tolerance to certain substances.
University of Otago
bioanthropologist Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith, who took part in
an international genome analysis of modern Aboriginal
Australians and modern Papuans—the Australians’ northern
neighbors, said the study showed the Aboriginal Australians and
Papuans split from Europeans and Asians about 58,000 years ago.
They also found that
Aboriginal Australians and Papuans later diverged around 37,000
years ago, long before the prehistoric Sahul continent separated
into Australia and New Guinea due to rising seas, some 10,000
diversity among Aboriginal Australians is amazing,” Matisoo-Smith
said in a statement.
“Perhaps because the
continent has been inhabited for such a long time, we find that
groups from southwestern desert Australia are more genetically
different from groups of northeastern Australia than are for
example Native Americans and Siberians, and this is within a