Polynesian origins: Insights from the Y chromosome

Bing Su, Li Jin, Peter Underbill, Jeremy Martinson, Nilmani Saha, Stephen T. McGarvey, Mark D. Shriver, Jiayou Chu, Peter Oefner, Ranajit Chakraborty, Ranjan Deka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


The question surrounding the colonization of Polynesia has remained controversial. Two hypotheses, one postulating Taiwan as the putative homeland and the other asserting a Melanesian origin of the Polynesian people, have received considerable attention. In this work, we present haplotype data based on the distribution of 19 biallelic polymorphisms on the Y chromosome in a sample of 551 male individuals from 36 populations living in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Surprisingly, nearly none of the Taiwanese Y haplotypes were found in Micronesia and Polynesia. Likewise, a Melanesian-specific haplotype was not found among the Polynesians. However, all of the Polynesian, Micronesian, and Taiwanese haplotypes are present in the extant Southeast Asian populations. Evidently, the Y-chromosome data do not lend support to either of the prevailing hypotheses. Rather, we postulate that Southeast Asia provided a genetic source for two independent migrations, one toward Taiwan and the other toward Polynesia through island Southeast Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8225-8228
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - 18 Jul 2000


Dive into the research topics of 'Polynesian origins: Insights from the Y chromosome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this