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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 20;109(12):4574-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1118892109. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

Genetic dating indicates that the Asian-Papuan admixture through Eastern Indonesia corresponds to the Austronesian expansion.

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  • 1Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Computational Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Max Planck Society, CAS-MPG, Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.


Although the Austronesian expansion had a major impact on the languages of Island Southeast Asia, controversy still exists over the genetic impact of this expansion. The coexistence of both Asian and Papuan genetic ancestry in Eastern Indonesia provides a unique opportunity to address this issue. Here, we estimate recombination breakpoints in admixed genomes based on genome-wide SNP data and date the genetic admixture between populations of Asian vs. Papuan ancestry in Eastern Indonesia. Analyses of two genome-wide datasets indicate an eastward progression of the Asian admixture signal in Eastern Indonesia beginning about 4,000-3,000 y ago, which is in excellent agreement with inferences based on Austronesian languages. The average rate of spread of Asian genes in Eastern Indonesia was about 0.9 km/y. Our results indicate that the Austronesian expansion had a strong genetic as well as linguistic impact on Island Southeast Asia, and they significantly advance our understanding of the biological origins of human populations in the Asia-Pacific region.

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