October 24, 2012

Ancient Maori mtDNA

Terry points me to this paper:

Michael Knapp et al., Complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequences from the first New Zealanders. PNAS 2012. Open access ··> LINK [doi:]

Abstract

The dispersal of modern humans across the globe began ∼65,000 y ago when people first left Africa and culminated with the settlement of East Polynesia, which occurred in the last 1,000 y. With the arrival of Polynesian canoes only 750 y ago, Aotearoa/New Zealand became the last major landmass to be permanently settled by humans. We present here complete mitochondrial genome sequences of the likely founding population of Aotearoa/New Zealand recovered from the archaeological site of Wairau Bar. These data represent complete mitochondrial genome sequences from ancient Polynesian voyagers and provide insights into the genetic diversity of human populations in the Pacific at the time of the settlement of East Polynesia.

The authors sequenced ancient mtDNA from the pre-colonial period from a museum material being returned for proper reburial. The remains belong to a population from Wairau Bar from the 13th-14th centuries, which were looted by British museums in the mid 20th century. 

Of the 19 individuals researched, only four provided valid sequences. All four Three were within the so-called Polynesian motif or haplogroup B4a1a1a, the other was Q1, a lineage of Melanesian origin also found, albeit rarely, among other Polynesians. All modern studied Maoris are B4a1a1a but Q1 is known to exist among Cook Islanders, for example. (Corrected: Q1 is mentioned but in the context of other Polynesian populations, not New Zealand).


Interestingly the authors also explain that the colonization of Eastern Polynesia was performed not in a series of small randomized migrations but in a single expansive wave in the 12th-13th centuries CE, what explains the relative homogeneity of their customs and languages. 

A recent reevaluation of the dates for the colonization of East Polynesia suggests that, contrary to earlier studies positing a relatively long (2,000 y) chronology for the region, the settlement of most of East Polynesia occurred rapidly, in the period from A.D. ∼1190–1290 (22). The authors determined that the expansion event occurred from the Society Islands, which were only settled 70–265 y previously. This rapid and recent expansion event, they argue, explains the “remarkable uniformity of East Polynesian culture, human biology and language” (22).

The cited reference (22) is:
Wilmshurst JM, Hunt TL, Lipo CP, Anderson AJ (2011) High-precision radiocarbon dating shows recent and rapid initial human colonization of East Polynesia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(5):1815–1820.

24 comments:

  1. Only in NZ would 13th - 14th century be considered ancient! Recall that the great cathedrals of France had already been constructed by then, and the Renaissance was beginning in Italy.

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    1. He, I know. :D

      But then of course "ancient DNA" means anything not from living people, so 19th... even 20th century would be it also. Anywhere in the World.

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  2. A slight correction: None of the sequences in this study belonged to Q1:

    "Haplotype Assignments
    ....Burial 1 and 16A could be unambiguously identified as belonging
    to haplogroup B4a1a1a3...Burial 2.1 was identified as belonging to B4a1a1a, ...Burial 18 could be identified to the level of B4a1a1..."

    See also Table S1 of the supplementary file.

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    1. An important correction, thanks.

      That happens when you read at too high speeds, I guess. I saw Q1 mentioned in other Polynesian contexts; that and the fact that two individuals shared identical haplotype probably confused me.

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  3. It *is* easier to see the results in most other mtDNA articles.

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  4. The expansion/diaspora date range might be linked to:

    Mega-volcano eruption in Indonesia (~1250 AD?)

    The Zuni Enigma, book by Anthropologist on unexpected similarities (language, genetic, blood type, pottery, design) in Japanese males (religious pilgrims?) and Zuni tribe members, at about the same period.

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    1. This is an expansion from Society Islands (French Polynesia), not from Indonesia. You always seem to have a far fetched conjecture. Spare us, please.

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  5. 'Only in NZ would 13th - 14th century be considered ancient!"

    That's what makes NZ so interesting. It is possible to actually see what the country was like before any humans arrived. And because just a small number of people arrived so recently it is easy to wind back the clock to their origin.

    "I saw Q1 mentioned in other Polynesian contexts"

    The authors mention that it has been found in Central Polynesia. But, as I said elsewhere, it is unlikely to have been part of the 'original' haplogroup arrival there. It is from Melanesia/New Guinea.

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  6. Correction. Q1 is present in the Cook and Gambier Islands, both 'Eastern Polynesia'. Q1 is presumably a slightly more recent arrival from Fiji. It has been found in remains at around 1400-1450 AD in the Gambier Islands.

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    1. Don't confuse people, Terry: Q1 was surely around since the beginning, as minority clade.

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  7. "Q1 was surely around since the beginning, as minority clade".

    What makes you so sure of that? We know that people have moved east behind the Lapita pottery people, and presumably that movement was associated with at least some haplogroup movement:

    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/pacific-migrations/3

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapita

    Followed by Navatu:

    http://archaeology.about.com/od/shthroughsiterms/qt/Sigatoka-Sand-Dunes.htm

    An overview:

    http://ejournal.anu.edu.au/index.php/bippa/article/view/230/220

    And good old Wikipedia has this to say:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Fiji

    "Austronesian peoples are believed to have settled in the Fijian islands some 3,500 years ago, with Melanesians following around a thousand years later'

    Of course you would claim that these Melanesian people brought in no new haplotypes at all. I have a great deal of difficulty accepting that hypothesis.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I withhold any sort of definitive judgment but Lapita culture itself is characterized by the fact that it went along the coasts of "Old Melanesia" (Papua and nearby islands) and then "New Melanesia" (Kanaky, etc.), what is a perfect context to pick up Melanesian lineages like mtDNA Q1 or Y-DNA C2. As these would have been always a small minority in key islands like Fiji, the chances that they were not ported to new colonies were high (typical real pop. genetic dynamics).

      Also it was with Lapita when the Polynesian speaking Melanesians spread to Kanaky and the rest of "New Melanesia", which precisely overlaps with Polynesia (reduced sense) at Fiji. So we do know for a fact that the typical Melanesian lineages spread with Lapita culture, even if the founder effect at Fiji was more of the original Austronesian stock (East Asian phenotype and genetics rather than Australasian Aboriginal ones).

      You should understand better the Lapita culture, because it is the genesis of "New Melanesia" (Kanaky, Vanuatu and Fiji itself) and also of some of Polynesia proper (Samoa, Tonga). I do not know how further Polynesians got "whitened" (i.e. lost their Melanesian phenotype, so obvious even as far as Samoa) but one can hunch at founder effects, maybe from Micronesia, at Society Is. and, from there, to the rest of the region as mentioned here.

      In any case Lapita is Polynesian in language and culture but in "race" is clearly Melanesian. Not sure how it applies to genetics because I have not studied the matter, island by island, in sufficient detail.

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  8. "Lapita culture itself is characterized by the fact that it went along the coasts of "Old Melanesia" (Papua and nearby islands) and then "New Melanesia" (Kanaky, etc.), what is a perfect context to pick up Melanesian lineages like mtDNA Q1 or Y-DNA C2."

    Very true, although both mt-DNA B4a and Y-DNA C2 originate further west than even 'old' Melanesia. These two are basically the only haplogroups that survived in Eastern Polynesia. Revealingly all other mt-DNA to reach as far even as Fiji are Melanesian haplogroups: P1, P2, Q1, Q2 and M28.

    "Not sure how it applies to genetics because I have not studied the matter, island by island, in sufficient detail".

    What we find is an increasing diversity of Papuan haplogroups as we move west from Fiji to the Admiralty Islands. Is this diversity a product of a series of founder effects or is it a product of a follow-on expansion from New Guinea/Northern Solomons? My vote goes to the latter. Ebizur made the comment some time back on Leherensuge, 'C2*-M38 occurs most frequently in populations of Wallacea and Western New Guinea [the 'Bird's Head'], whereas C2a-M208 occurs most frequently in populations of remote Polynesia, but parts of the area around the midpoint between these two poles are practically devoid of both C2*-M38 and C2a-M208'. It is difficult to explain that absence as being the product of drift in the region, especially as C2a is so dominant again further east. To me it is most easily explained as having been replaced by a later expansion of Melanesian Y-DNAs. Much the same situation exists for mt-DNA although B4a survives right through the region, presumably because the later expansion was mainly of men, although they did carry the above Fijian Melanesian mt-DNA.

    "As these would have been always a small minority in key islands like Fiji, the chances that they were not ported to new colonies were high (typical real pop. genetic dynamics)".

    Although the expansion was delayed in Fiji/Tonga/Samoa for a considerable time before resuming the eastward movement I believe the Melanesian haplogroups had not arrived by the time of the expansion into Eastern Polynesia, or had become present in just very small numbers. The proportion of Melanesian haplogroups, both Y-DNA and mt-DNA, in Eastern Polynesia in no way matches their presence in Fiji.

    "Also it was with Lapita when the Polynesian speaking Melanesians spread to Kanaky and the rest of 'New Melanesia', which precisely overlaps with Polynesia (reduced sense) at Fiji".

    Yes. Fiji marks some sort of 'boundary' between Polynesia and Melanesia with Fiji not really being part of either. Fiji is a margin between Polynesian and Melanesian haplogroups also. Basically just Wallacean haplogroups C2 and B4a to the east with an increasing proportion of Melanesian haplogroups to the west. Most people would be able to identify Fijians as being distinct from either population.

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    1. We already discussed several times (on Karafet 2010 data) that the most relevant C2 subclades (C-208, whose derivate C-P33 is the most common among Polynesians) are NOT FOUND in Wallacea but instead among Papuans.

      It would seem apparent that C-208 spread from Papua to Vanuatu, Tahiti and West Samoa and that C-P33 coalesced already in Tahiti or Samoa (both have the two clades), from where it spread to the rest of Polynesia.

      All the other C2 tabbed by Karafet 2010 in Oceania is concentrated in Papua and Micronesia (always as minority clade at ~7% levels), plus Vanuatu (~20%), which probably had its own distinct founder effect from "Old Melanesia" (Papua). There was no direct Wallacea > Polynesia spread but Papua > Polynesia (via Far Melanesia).

      "I believe the Melanesian haplogroups had not arrived by the time of the expansion into Eastern Polynesia"...

      You are free to BELIEVE whatever you wish, even against all evidence.

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  9. "So we do know for a fact that the typical Melanesian lineages spread with Lapita culture"

    No, we don't know that 'for a fact'. All we know is that mt-DNA B4a and Y-DNA C2 spread with Lapita. In fact it spread beyond Lapita regions, into Eastern Polynesia where pottery died out. Lapita has been found in regions with a high proportion of Melanesian haplogroups today, but there is no evidence that the population has remained unchanged in those regions since Lapita times.

    "You should understand better the Lapita culture, because it is the genesis of 'New Melanesia' (Kanaky, Vanuatu and Fiji itself) and also of some of Polynesia proper (Samoa, Tonga). I do not know how further Polynesians got 'whitened' (i.e. lost their Melanesian phenotype, so obvious even as far as Samoa)"

    How would Polynesians have 'lost their Melanesian phenotype'? Again you are automatically assuming 'founder effect' rather than considering all options. As I mentioned above even you would have no trouble separating Fijians from Samoans.

    "In any case Lapita is Polynesian in language and culture but in 'race' is clearly Melanesian".

    It is NOT clearly Melanesian in 'race'. Only in your imagination.

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    1. "All we know is that mt-DNA B4a and Y-DNA C2 spread with Lapita"...

      This is contradictory with what you just claimed to BELIEVE in the previous comment.

      "How would Polynesians have 'lost their Melanesian phenotype'?"

      I don't have a clear answer and it looks like a most interesting question. Maybe there was a secondary wave from Micronesia? It seems obvious that it is related to higher or lower frequencies of East Asian and Melanesian lineages respectively but why an avant-guard in Tahiti managed to be so "white" (East Asian like) with all that "black" (Melanesian) background so obvious raises some good questions.

      "Again you are automatically assuming 'founder effect' rather than considering all options".

      Founder effect may be a reason but I do not know for sure why that happened.

      "[Lapita culture] is NOT clearly Melanesian in 'race'. Only in your imagination".

      Then how do you explain that it did spread precisely in the more Melanesian looking areas of linguistic Polynesia and not elsewhere. Earth to Terry! Earth to Terry!

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    2. A bit of addendum on the question: "How would Polynesians have 'lost their Melanesian phenotype'?"

      The answer is that there is no obvious answer. Looking at all the Tahiti Y-DNA lineages reported by Karafet 2010 (n=24):

      1. The bulk (n=15; 63%) are C-P33 which obviously must have arrived from Samoa (ultimately from Papua, as the ancestor C-208, most likely). Another individual with C-208* is in the same narrative block.

      2. O-P201 (n=3) and K-M256 (n=1) may have arrived from Micronesia. O-P197* (n=1) may be from Vanuatu, which is also a possible route for K-M256. They total n=5 (21%)

      3. O-M134 (n=3; 13%) is almost certainly of recent Chinese origin.

      So essentially, via Y-DNA, Tahitians look 63% or more Melanesians. However in phenotype they look something else, although not typical East Asian either, they approach much more the usual Micronesian phenotype.

      Why? Beats me.

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    3. PS- Micronesians look also at least 50% Melanesian per Y-DNA but maybe with greater direct influence from Wallacea (and Boungaville) than Papua. But a 38% is clearly from East Asia proper (Philippines, West Indonesia and a rare lineage that might be from Vietnam).

      Maybe we should consider all Polynesian speakers, as well as some other Austronesians (Wallaceans) as mixture of two originally distinct stocks or "races", only varying in rather elusive details. At least that's what Y-DNA genetics say (but of course it must be different at autosomal levels - an interesting twist).

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  10. "one can hunch at founder effects, maybe from Micronesia, at Society Is. and, from there, to the rest of the region as mentioned here".

    So, to sum up. We have another example of what I call your 'Garden of Eden Syndrome': you believe that always a diverse population departs from some small locality, and that original diversity is then reduced through a series of 'founder effects'. I am certain it is very seldom as simple as that.

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    1. Actually not. I was considering two distinct "Edens" (to use your annoying bad comparison): Melanesia for the initial Lapita spread and Micronesia (?) for some not well understood founder effect into Tahiti (and from there to the rest of Polynesia proper just some centuries ago).

      Does the two "Edens" allow you to keep harassing me with your pointless accusations or will it make your brain explode because of incapacity to confront the unexpected?

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  11. "I don't have a clear answer and it looks like a most interesting question [How would Polynesians have 'lost their Melanesian phenotype]"

    You don't have any sort of answer because it seems any realistic possibility doesn't fit your preconceived beliefs.

    "It seems obvious that it is related to higher or lower frequencies of East Asian and Melanesian lineages respectively but why an avant-guard in Tahiti managed to be so 'white' (East Asian like) with all that 'black' (Melanesian) background so obvious raises some good questions".

    Surely the obvious answer, that fits archeology as well, is that the East Asian like expansion led the way, followed by a Melanesian one. The two may not have been separated by very much time, virtually continuous in fact, but the East Asian one formed the vanguard.

    "We already discussed several times (on Karafet 2010 data) that the most relevant C2 subclades (C-208, whose derivate C-P33 is the most common among Polynesians) are NOT FOUND in Wallacea but instead among Papuans. It would seem apparent that C-208 spread from Papua to Vanuatu, Tahiti and West Samoa and that C-P33 coalesced already in Tahiti or Samoa (both have the two clades), from where it spread to the rest of Polynesia".

    Ebizur showed some years ago that C2-M38 was oldest in Southern Wallacea and presumably coalesced there. Its presence in New Guinea includes the derived haplogroup C2a-M208, which is found not only in New Guinea but some way to the east. And C2* has been found as far east as Maewo in Vanuatu. So presumably C2 left Wallacea and spread across Northern New Guinea as far as the Southern Solomons, forming C2a-M208 along the way. Both variations of the haplogroup are found in the Admiralty Islands. Still further out C2a1-P33 formed and has come to dominate in Polynesia. But to claim that because C2a-M208 originated somewhere between Wallacea and the Admiralty Islands, and is present in the Bird's head of New Guinea, therefore the Austronesian eastward migration must have begun there is to jump to unjustified conclusions.

    "So essentially, via Y-DNA, Tahitians look 63% or more Melanesians. However in phenotype they look something else, although not typical East Asian either, they approach much more the usual Micronesian phenotype".

    You're ignoring (deliberately?) half the population. The majority Tahitian mt-DNA is B4a1a1a, very definitely a Southeast Asian haplogroup. Under your scenario we finish up with a huge difference between male and female founder effects. Right across the Pacific from the Admiralty Islands to Eastern Polynesia mt-DNA B4a consistently makes up a third to three quarters of the mt-DNA. A little less in parts of Melanesia, much more on Polynesia. When we turn to Y-DNA in Eastern Polynesia however we find again that three quarters is C2a. But in Fiji the proportion of C2 drops to just one quarter. The rest is made up of Melanesian haplogroups that hardly made it any further east. C2a has a minority presence all the way west to the Admiralty Islands. Even in Southern Wallacea it is a minority haplogroup today. Under the scenario you propose this minority haplogroup spread right across the Pacific accompanied by a majority of Melanesian haplogroups, yet it managed to become virtually the only Y-DNA to make it beyond Fiji. Meanwhile mt-DNA B4a managed to maintain a substantial presence all the way from Wallacea to new Zealand. That is a strange series of founder effects. In my opinion some other explanation is needed.

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  12. "I was considering two distinct 'Edens' (to use your annoying bad comparison): Melanesia for the initial Lapita spread and Micronesia (?) for some not well understood founder effect into Tahiti (and from there to the rest of Polynesia proper just some centuries ago)".

    There has been no connection ever suggested between Tahiti and Micronesia. The Polynesian/Austronesian pattern of expansion goes: SE Asia, Admiralty Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu/New Caledonia, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii/New Zealand. Archeology and the trail of both Y-DNA and mt-DNA supports such a route.

    "PS- Micronesians look also at least 50% Melanesian per Y-DNA but maybe with greater direct influence from Wallacea (and Boungaville) than Papua. But a 38% is clearly from East Asia proper (Philippines, West Indonesia and a rare lineage that might be from Vietnam)".

    The accepted situation is that Eastern and Western Micronesia have a separate prehistory. The western islands were settled direct from the Philippines, with addition from perhaps as far away as Japan, while the east was settled from somewhere near Vanuatu.

    "Then how do you explain that it did spread precisely in the more Melanesian looking areas of linguistic Polynesia and not elsewhere. Earth to Terry! Earth to Terry!"

    You're ignoring the fact that it has actually been found in the very non-Melanesian Marquesas Islands though. It became spread all along the islands listed above, and beyond, although it rapidly died out in the islands beyond Fiji.

    "Maybe we should consider all Polynesian speakers, as well as some other Austronesians (Wallaceans) as mixture of two originally distinct stocks or 'races', only varying in rather elusive details".

    That's what I've been trying to get through to you since we first communicated. At last we may be getting somewhere. They are a mix of 'Mongoloid' and 'Papuan'. The mix happened somewhere between the Philippines and the Bird's Head.

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  13. I think I have replied as much as possible in the new entry on Oceanic peoples (rather than only Polynesians):

    http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-genetic-and-phenotype-complexity-of.html

    Entry which took me a while to document and write, so I hope you value it for what is worth.

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