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Population Genetics, Linguistics, and Culture History in the Southwest Pacific$
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Jonathan S. Friedlaender

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195300307

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300307.001.0001

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Mitochondrial DNA Variation in Northern Island Melanesia

Mitochondrial DNA Variation in Northern Island Melanesia

Chapter:
(p.61) 4 Mitochondrial DNA Variation in Northern Island Melanesia
Source:
Population Genetics, Linguistics, and Culture History in the Southwest Pacific
Author(s):

Jonathan S. Friedlaender

Françoise R. Friedlaender

Jason A. Hodgson

Stacy McGrath

Matthew Stoltz

George Koki

Theodore G. Schurr

D. Andrew Merriwether

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300307.003.0004

This chapter reports the mitochondrial DNA diversity in the Southwest Pacific, focusing on the extensive structure of this variation in Northern Island Melanesia. It shows that a constellation of mitochondrial variants in Northern Island Melanesia is particularly old and not found beyond the Wallace Line to the west. These variants must have developed subsequent to initial settlement some 40,000-50,000 years ago. The evidence also suggests a subsequent series of expansions into the region from the west, through the Upper Pleistocene and into the Holocene. The most recent involve haplogroup E and the so-called “Polynesian Motif” (haplogroup B4a1a1). This “Motif” clearly in Near Oceania forms a haplogroup that was introduced from Island Southeast Asia, and is closely associated with the Lapita phenomenon. There are some problems with the distribution of the “Motif” in Island Melanesia that require explanation. Overall, the mitochondrial DNA diversity is organized on a clear island-by-island basis, with the Papuan-speaking groups of the island interiors showing the greatest diversity, and the Oceanic-speaking groups on the coastlines the least.

Keywords:   Polynesian Motif, Lapita, haplogroups, mitochondrial DNA diversity

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