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Am J Phys Anthropol. 1992 May;88(1):27-36.

Origin of the Koreans: a population genetic study.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, National University of Singapore.


A population genetic study was undertaken to investigate the origin of Koreans. Thirteen polymorphic and 7 monomorphic blood genetic markers (serum proteins and red cell enzymes) were studied in a group of 437 Koreans. Genetic distance analyses by both cluster and principal components models were performed between Koreans and eight other populations (Koreans in China, Japanese, Han Chinese, Mongolians, Zhuangs, Malays, Javanese, and Soviet Asians) on the basis of 47 alleles controlled by 15 polymorphic loci. A more detailed analysis using 65 alleles at 19 polymorphic loci was performed on six populations. Both analyses demonstrated genetic evidence of the origin of Koreans from the central Asian Mongolians. Further, the Koreans are more closely related to the Japanese and quite distant from the Chinese. The above evidence of the origin of Koreans fits well with the ethnohistoric account of the origin of Koreans and the Korean language. The minority Koreans in China also maintained their genetic identity.

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