To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

[P.O Box 13, Honiara, Solomon Islands/ Email: Tel:+677 7424025]

Welcome to the TARD Homepage...{Sore lea tale oe uri fula lamu mai la biu ne'e TARD}...TARD is To'abaita's rural voice on the web

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Study of Solomon Islands and other Melanesia societies reveal Melanesians as the most genetically diverse on Earth

A recently published study of the genetic make-up of four melanesian islands including Solomon Islands has revealed that melanesians are among the most genetically diverse people on the planet Earth with significant differences in their mitochondrial DNA that can be linked to where they live, the size of their home island and the language they speak.

The study, “Melanesian mtDNA complexity,” was led by Jonathan Friedlaender, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Temple University (pictured above). Professor Friedlaender's area of specialization is in human biological variation in the Southwest Pacific (Solomon Islands, New Britain and Papua New Guinea), where he had been undertaking fieldwork over the past 30 years. The study was published in the Feb. 28 issue of the new online journal, Public Library of Science ONE.

Friedlaender and his collaborators from Binghamton University, the Institute for Medical research in New Guinea and the University of Pennsylvania, examined mitochondrial DNA sequences from 32 diverse populations on four Melanesian islands that includes Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and New Guinea. The islands that were intensively covered were Bougainville, New Ireland, New Britain and New Guinea.

A Lau Lagoon blonde girl from North Malaita, Solomon Islands, which is part of Melanesia [pic by Jonathan Friedlaender]

“Mitochondrial DNA has been a focus of analysis for about 15 years. It is very interesting in that it is strictly maternally inherited as a block of DNA, so it really allows for the construction of a very deep family tree on the maternal side as new mutations accumulate over the generations on ancestral genetic backgrounds," says Friedlaender.

Friedlaender also says that the study gives a different perspective on the notion of the “apparent distinctions between humans from different continents, often called racial differences. In this part of the Pacific, there are big differences between groups just from one island to the next — one might have to name five or six new races on this basis, if one were so inclined. Human racial distinctions don’t amount to much.”

Source: newswise

Copyright©2006-2010 To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD). All rights reserved