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Curr Biol. 2010 Feb 23;20(4):R194-201. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.12.004.

The human genetic history of Oceania: near and remote views of dispersal.

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  • 1Department of Forensic Molecular Biology, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands. m.kayser@erasmusmc.nl

Abstract

The human history of Oceania is unique in the way that it encompasses both the first out-of-Africa expansion of modern humans to New Guinea and Australia as well as the last regional human occupation of Polynesia. Other anthropological peculiarities of Oceania include features like the extraordinarily rich linguistic diversity especially of New Guinea with about 1,000 often very distinct languages, the independent and early development of agriculture in the highlands of New Guinea about 10,000 years ago, or the long-term isolation of the entire region from the outside world, which lasted as long as until the 1930s for most of the interior of New Guinea. This review will provide an overview on the genetic aspects of human population history of Oceania and how some of the anthropological peculiarities are reflected in human genetic data. Due to current data availability it will mostly focus on insights from sex-specifically inherited mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomal DNA, whereas more genome-wide autosomal DNA data are soon expected to add additional details or may correct views obtained from these two, albeit highly complex, genetic loci.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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