Human Genome Project, Asia

Jan 8th, 2010, in News, by

East Asians are all one big happy family historically, from south east Asia not China.

A new investigative study, "Mapping Human Genetic Diversity in Asia" involving data collection from 73 ethnic groups in Southeast Asia and East Asia and carried out by 93 scientists from 40 institutions in 10 countries led by the Singapore-based Human Genome Organization (HUGO) Pan-Asian SNP Consortium, has found that by studying SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism), which is the sequence variation in human genes, it can be demonstrated that east and south-east Asians share a common origin, - South East Asia - and that previous theories about their migration movements were likely partly false.

Traditionally, according to Dr Edison Liu, executive director at the Genome Institute of Singapore and president of HUGO, people had the wrong-headed notion that

Asia was populated by two waves of migration. One wave was from Southeast Asia, called the Southern route, and the second from Central Asia, called the Northern route.

However Dr Liu says that the new evidence points only to a single, South-east Asian origin for Asians, that being northern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia, via a southern Indian coastal route from Africa.

After the initial migration out of Africa people got split up, some heading north to the Levant, while others moved through the Dravidian part of India, with some of the more hardy travelers among them continuing on to Thailand and Malaysia, and thence fanning out to the rest of Asia, like Indonesia to the south, and China to the north. This would entail that Chinese people are genetically and historically a subset of south-east Asians.

Africa is still thought to be the original place of man but Dr Maude E. Phipps from Monash University suggests that hidden in the depths of Asian soil could be evidence that could change this thinking.

A consequence of this new theory is that people previously considered weird outliers, like the Dayaks of Kalimantan, get to join the common East Asian family:

This places disparate ethnic groups like the Negritos [in the Philippines], Dayaks [in Borneo, Indonesia] etc. within the Asian fold.

A scientist in Malaysia who took part in the study, Dr Zilfalil, a researcher at the Human Genome Centre, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), hoped, possibly wistfully, that once the new information about common origins filtered down to the people that ethnic relations would be improved, and general harmony result. eurekalert.org


8 Comments on “Human Genome Project, Asia”

  1. avatar ET says:

    A scientist in Malaysia who took part in the study, Dr Zilfalil, a researcher at the Human Genome Centre, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), hoped, possibly wistfully, that once the new information about common origins filtered down to the people that ethnic relations would be improved, and general harmony result.

    Nonsense, as if the reasons for ethnic cleansing would stem from biology. Strife and discord result from differences in cultural habits, believes, mentality, politics and economics instead of ethnicity. Ethnicity only enters the equation when the aforementioned factors bring about a distinctive societal make-up of groups with common ethnic characteristics and then becomes a signboard which exemplifies those differences.

  2. avatar deta says:

    Umm.. why this article reminds me of Anthony? Have no intention to re-open the debate but I would love to dedicate this for him who once said:

    It’s an accepted fact that Northern Asians like the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans have higher IQ’s then Southern Asians like the Indonesians, Filipinos, and Malays.

    Well, according to the article his theory is not genetically proven since all these people share a common origin and linked by a unifying genetic thread. Big family, huh!

    ET… sure the research will mean nothing to improve the ethnic relations if people are still hiding behind ethnicity and ideology as the tools to fulfill their own greed.

  3. avatar ET says:

    I should learn to express my thoughts more clearly. Let me give an example to clarify my earlier post. Even if they share common origins there will always be strife between pribumis and Indonesians of chinese descent because the latter have historically developed different values and lifestyles which stick to them like skin-colour and hence became synonymous. In other words Chinese were or are hated not because of their different genetic features but because of what these features came to represent in the eyes of pribumis. This rationale of course is also valid in the other direction, Chinese vs pribumis.

  4. avatar deta says:

    I don’t think we’re in that much of disagreement here. To me, genetic or ethnic and the attributes derived from that like skin colour and language, is often used as an excuse to provoke the strife and discord, while the factors such as economics and politics are actually the main factors underlying it.

  5. avatar jessearmand says:

    Agreed with commenters.

    Culture, lifestyle, language, ideology, and many other environmental factors are far more influencing than genetic traits.

    Once all of these could be harmonized, regardless of genetics or the knowledge of common origins, then that’s the exact situation that we’re looking for.

  6. avatar sputjam says:

    Good heavens. Chinses originated from jakuns and orang ulus.

  7. avatar Musefan says:

    “A scientist in Malaysia who took part in the study, Dr Zilfalil, a researcher at the Human Genome Centre, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), hoped, possibly wistfully, that once the new information about common origins filtered down to the people that ethnic relations would be improved, and general harmony result.”

    What bollocks from a scientist! New discoveries will change previously believed facts on various subjects. Now I wonder how this particular scientist decides that ethnic relations will be improved if this new information is confirmed. Is he trying to say that once it’s confirmed & that the Chinese are no longer the presumed descendants of many ethnic groups in South East Asia, then somehow some groups of people will be appeased & vindicated?

    How can we trust a scientist with such a shallow mindset of harmony?

  8. avatar Musefan says:

    Correction: that the Chinese are no longer the presumed ancestors of the many ethnic groups in South East Asia…..

    Once the new information is proven true, the case of the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese being more developed than the pri-bumis still stands doesn’t it. What is worse is that those more developed groups of people took lesser time to be where they are now. Inevitably proving that the pribumis are really slow in the head, no?

Comment on “Human Genome Project, Asia”.

RSS
RSS feed
Email

Copyright Indonesia Matters 2006-18
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact