Peopling of Australia:’Reconstructing Indian-Australian Phylogenetic Link’ Satish Kumar et al

Although this is described as a provisional paper, and therefore subject to alteration before official publication, it’s published in full as a provisional pdf, in which it is proposed that the genetic footprints of Australia’s first inhabitants, estimated to have arrived around 45,000 years BP, can be detected in modern-day Indian populations. The main points covered in the paper are as follows:

Background:  An early dispersal of biologically and behaviorally modern humans from their African origins to Australia, by at least 45 thousand years via southern Asia has been suggested by studies based on morphology, archaeology and genetics. However, mtDNA lineages sampled so far from south Asia, eastern Asia and Australasia show non-overlapping distributions of haplogroups within pan Eurasian M and N macrohaplogroups. Likewise, support from the archaeology is still ambiguous.

Results:  In our completely sequenced 966-mitochondrial genomes from 26 relic tribes of India, we have identified seven genomes, which share two synonymous polymorphisms with the M42 haplogroup, which is specific to Australian Aborigines.

Conclusions  Our results showing a shared mtDNA lineage between Indians and Australian Aborigines provides direct genetic evidence of an early colonization of Australia through south Asia, following the “southern route”.

Reference: Reconstructing Indian-Australian Phylogenetic Link by Satish Kumar, Rajasekhara REDDY Ravuri, Padmaja Koneru, B P Urade, B N Sarkar, A Chandrasekar and V R Rao.

BMC Evolutionary Biology 2009, 9:173 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-173

7 thoughts on “Peopling of Australia:’Reconstructing Indian-Australian Phylogenetic Link’ Satish Kumar et al

  1. I read it and it does seem that “provisional” is the best word we can use for it. Lacks of anything that resembles a “materials and methods” section and does not identify the tribes where they located their findings.

    Also phylogenetically is kinda odd: they propose to scratch off a phylogenetic link defined on a coding area SNP (much less likely to have suffered parallel mutations than the control area ones) and force the Australians to have suffered “a back-mutation” in order to fit in their proposed phyologeny.

    I’m disregarding it by the moment, seriously.

    1. I feel that the paper have given enough evidence for results. The methods section is located at the end of the paper which is enough for their work. As far as the location of their findings is concerned in the results they have mentioned central Dravidian and austroasiatic tribes. If we see the distribution of the tribes we can say that they are located at central India. Regarding the back mutation- majority of the Australian sequences support the phylogeny except 2 sequences even if they don’t include those sequences it will not affect the results.

  2. “Also phylogenetically is kinda odd”.

    Yes. M42 is such a minority haplogroup in Australia that it’s unlikely to represent an early arrival. And if it’s associated with Austro-Asiatic tribes it’s likely to have entered India from the east.

  3. I’m always fascinated to learn new theories on this topic. There’s a new book out that suggests modern homo sapiens actually originated from the Australian aborigines and spread out across the world via Asia.

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