The results of an international genetic research effort has come out from two Australian universties, and is being reported as a confirmation of the ‘Out of Africa’ hypothesis. This study isn’t as cool in concept as the microbiotic comparison between human populations, but it is an important supplement. The researchers analyzed,

“the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA of Aboriginal Australians and Melanesians from New Guinea. This data was compared with the various DNA patterns associated with early humans.

The results showed that both the Aborigines and Melanesians share the genetic features that have been linked to the exodus of modern humans from Africa 50,000 years ago.”

I mentioned how this research is important supplement, because the fossil record of Australia and New Guinea differs so significantly it has been difficult to prove what’s really going on, paraphrased from Peter Forster’s quote here. This is a case where genetic data clears up some confusion in fossil analysis. He goes on to say,

“For the first time, this evidence gives us a genetic link showing that the Australian Aboriginal and New Guinean populations are descended directly from the same specific group of people who emerged from the African migration.”

I can’t seem to track down the publication in PNAS, but I’ll keep my eye out for it. Furthermore,

“The DNA patterns of the Australian and Melanesian populations show that the population evolved in relative isolation. The two groups also share certain genetic characteristics that are not found beyond Melanesia. This would suggest that there was very little gene flow into Australia after the original migration.”

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