Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Genetic Evidence Links Yayoi To Northeast China

A new examination of a particular genetic marker suggests that that Yayoi component of the Japanese people that migrated there ca. 300 BCE migrated to Japan from Northeast China via Korea.

The Jomon version of the marker is also shared with Native Americans - this could indicate a Japanese contribution to the Native American founding population, or it could reflect a common origin for the populations in Northeast Asia.

This data point tends to slightly disfavor an Altaic linguistic connection for Japanese, although it is hardly definitive. For example, if Korea was Altaic and the Northeast Chinese migrants experienced language shift before moving on to Japan, Japanese could still be an Altaic language. Similarly, if an Altaic language (such as the Manchu language) was spoken in that part of Northeast China at the time and it subsequently experienced language shift to a Sino-Tibetan language, an Altaic hypothesis could still be supported.

The (open access) study is:

Miyamori, Daisuke et al., Tracing Jomon and Yayoi ancestries in Japan using ALDH2 and JC virus genotype distributions 6 Investigative Genetics 14 (2015).

See also:

Timothy A. Jinam, Hideaki Kanzawa-Kiriyama and Naruya Saitou, Human genetic diversity in the Japanese Archipelago: dual structure and beyond 90 Genes Genet. Syst. 147-152 (2015) (“genetic data strongly support the dual-structure model proposed by Hanihara (1991) whereby the Hondo Japanese are the result of admixture between the Jomon and Yayoi ancestral populations. . . . The indigenous Ainu and Ryukyuan populations retain a genetic identity that most likely traces back to Jomon ancestors, while at the same time show indications of recent admixture with the Hondo Japanese. . . . The genetic substructure in the Hondo Japanese also hints at a more complex model of human migrations and interactions than the dual structure model implies”).

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