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Hainan islanders’ matrilineal relations

16 Feb
Location of Hainan (red)

The Li or Hlai are a Kradai-speaking people from Hainan, today a province of P.R. China and the only one which is fully insular (besides the claimed but not controlled Taiwan). However in the Pleistocene Hainan used to be a peninsula and therefore an affinity with mainland peoples was to be expected. 

Effectively there is such affinity, notably with the people of Guangxi Zhuang, who are still largely also speakers of Kradai (or Tai-Kadai) languages (Zhuang specially). This and other findings are detailed in this new paper:
Key excerpts from the paper:

We found that Hainan islanders showed close relationship with the populations in mainland southern China, especially from Guangxi. Haplotype sharing analyses suggested that the recent gene flow from the mainland might play important roles in shaping the maternal pool of Hainan islanders. More importantly, haplogroups M12, M7e, and M7c1* might represent the genetic relics of the ancient population that populated this region; and 14 representative complete mtDNA genomes were further sequenced.

The predominant haplogroups in southern China and Southeast Asia: haplogroups B, F, and M7 together account for ~ 69%, 71%, and 63% of the maternal gene pools of the populations Li-BT, Li-LD, and Li-QZ, respectively (Table 1). The prevailing haplogroups in northern China, such as haplogroups A, D4, G, and Z, were rare or even absent in the three Li populations.

The genetic difference between Hainan islanders and populations from the mainland was statistically significant (p < 0.001, Analysis of molecular variance, AMOVA), whereas the difference between the Li populations (Li-BT, Li-LD, Li-QZ, Li-TZ, and Jiamao) and non-Li populations (Cun, Danga, and Lingao) was not (p = 0.147±0.010, AMOVA).

In general, the mtDNA haplogroup profiles of Hainan islanders are similar to the profiles of the populations from mainland southern China. (…) Especially, most Hainan islanders were clustered with some populations from Guangxi (Figure 3). This pattern was also reflected by the genome-wide data: the Jiamao population in Hainan Island was clustered with the Zhuang population (i.e. the dominant minority ethnic group in Guangxi) (…)

Additionally there are some interesting data mines in the additional files and the figures. Sadly at the moment of me reading the provisional manuscript, most of these figures suffered from critical crop errors and cannot therefore be used (fixed, see below) to illustrate the results of the study.

Update (Feb 17): the illustration errors have been fixed (sometimes writing an email is worth it) and now they can be used to better understand the genetics of the area. For example:

From fig. 6: frequency of mtDNA M12

PC analysis, Hlai (Li) people are to the bottom left

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8 Comments

Posted by on February 16, 2011 in China, East Asia, mtDNA, population genetics, SE Asia

 

8 responses to “Hainan islanders’ matrilineal relations

  1. terryt

    February 17, 2011 at 2:12 am

    My comment capability seems restored. Thanks for that post. I've long wondered about Hainan, and if it could provide information about ancient haplogroups in South China. "haplogroups M12, M7e, and M7c1* might represent the genetic relics of the ancient population that populated this region" Perhaps, but they're certainly not representative of any 'rapid' movement from Zomia. M7e and M7c1 are both quite downstream clades of M7. M7 diverged first into M7a and M7b-g. And M12 of course is part of M12'G. "haplogroups B, F, and M7 together account for ~ 69%, 71%, and 63% of the maternal gene pools of the populations Li-BT, Li-LD, and Li-QZ, respectively (Table 1)". That's more interesting. I'm beginning to suspect that either B or F originated somewhere nearby, or perhaps both did. M7 is tolerably common in SE Asia, including Indonesia and the Philippines.

     
  2. Maju

    February 17, 2011 at 4:12 am

    "My comment capability seems restored".Did you have any problems? I was unaware."Perhaps, but they're certainly not representative of any 'rapid' movement from Zomia. M7e and M7c1 are both quite downstream clades of M7. M7 diverged first into M7a and M7b-g. And M12 of course is part of M12'G".I see your point indeed. They are just local aspects of areal genetics probably."I'm beginning to suspect that either B or F originated somewhere nearby, or perhaps both did".Both B and F (and macro-B and macro-F) look indeed from SE Asia. Where exactly I can't say. "M7 is tolerably common in SE Asia, including Indonesia and the Philippines".Sure. Do you think, following your other remark, that it could mean a coastal backflow from the North China Sea area? Of course, you'd be thinking in terms of "Neolithic" and I'd be thinking in terms of some 30 or 20 Ka ago… but that's just a detail.

     
  3. R.A.F.A.E.L.

    February 17, 2011 at 5:07 am

    An exhaustive report. Very pleasant for those who are really interested in anthropological data about the most ancient living civilization in the world: the Chinese one. I have liked this post indeed.Best regards.

     
  4. Maju

    February 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Notice please that the paper has been purged of those annoying image cropping errors and hence all graphics can now be visualized properly.

     
  5. terryt

    February 18, 2011 at 2:37 am

    "Both B and F (and macro-B and macro-F) look indeed from SE Asia. Where exactly I can't say". Nor can I, but i'm very interested in working out where. I'm sure it's somewhere along the coast in the arc between the South Chinese mainland and Java though. "Do you think, following your other remark, that it could mean a coastal backflow from the North China Sea area?" Possibly. But to me it's more likely that M7 in both SE Asia and South China is a product of expansion from the border region of Burma/Laos/South China. In other words from Zomia. Perhaps that's the reason for the early split between M7a and M7b-g. To find the origin of Philippine M7 we would need to know which M7 haplogroup(s) was involved. It could be revealing to tease out the various M7 regional clades. "Of course, you'd be thinking in terms of 'Neolithic' and I'd be thinking in terms of some 30 or 20 Ka ago… but that's just a detail". I think we'd be in agreement in placing M7's spread through mainland SE Asia at around 30 or 20 Ka ago, but I'd hesitate to place it's arrival in the islands, apart perhaps from Sumatra, anywhere nearly as early as that.

     
  6. terryt

    February 18, 2011 at 3:29 am

    I've just seen the map of M12's distribution. Wow. One centre right at the 'border region of Burma/Laos/South China'. The other in Hainan. The latter probably as a result of its replacement in the region between the two centres. Any other haplogroup maps in the article?

     
  7. Maju

    February 18, 2011 at 4:56 am

    "Any other haplogroup maps in the article?"Maps no but haplotype NJ structure with locations (which is even more informative) yes. You should look at the paper yourself: it's open access after all. I just picked a couple of images to best illustrate the contents but I'm not going to reproduce everything here when you just need to click on the link, right?

     
  8. nungpeople

    March 6, 2017 at 4:21 am

    It is expected that genetically the Hlai possess affinity to the Zhuang. However I doubt the Chinese’s bio-technology to conduct such genetic research. As a result, the quality of the genetic research you have cited here is questionable.

     

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