Mitochondrial DNA variability of West New Guinea populations
Article first published online: 12 DEC 2001
Copyright © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 117, Issue 1, pages 49–67, January 2002
How to Cite
Tommaseo-Ponzetta, M., Attimonelli, M., De Robertis, M., Tanzariello, F. and Saccone, C. (2002), Mitochondrial DNA variability of West New Guinea populations. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 117: 49–67. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.10010
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2001
- Article first published online: 12 DEC 2001
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 JUL 2001
- Manuscript Received: 25 JUL 2000
- Ministry for University and Scientific Research MURST 40%, MURST 60%, P.R.I.N. 1997–1999
- EU Biotechnology Programme. Grant Number: BIO4-CT95-0160
- Programma Biotecnologie legge 95/95, MURST 5%
- Project MURST Cluster CO3 2000
- Ligabue Research and Study Centre, Venice
- HVS 1;
- 9-bp deletion;
- New Guinea;
- Irian Jaya;
This paper reports human mitochondrial DNA variability in West New Guinea (the least known, western side of the island of New Guinea), not yet described from a molecular perspective. The study was carried out on 202 subjects from 12 ethnic groups, belonging to six different Papuan language families, representative of both mountain and coastal plain areas. Mitochondrial DNA hypervariable region 1 (HVS 1) and the presence of the 9-bp deletion (intergenic region COII-tRNALys) were investigated. HVS 1 sequencing identified 73 polymorphic sites defining 89 haplotypes; the 9-bp deletion, which is considered a marker of Austronesian migration in the Pacific, was found to be absent in the whole West New Guinea study sample.
Statistical analysis applied to the resulting haplotypes reveal high heterogeneity and an intersecting distribution of genetic variability in these populations, despite their cultural and geographic diversity. The results of subsequent phylogenetic approaches subdivide mtDNA diversity in West New Guinea into three main clusters (groups I–III), defined by sets of polymorphisms which are also shared by some individuals from Papua New Guinea. Comparisons with worldwide HVS 1 sequences stored in the MitBASE database show the absence of these patterns outside Oceania and a few Indonesian subjects, who also lack the 9-bp deletion. This finding, which is consistent with the effects of genetic drift and prolonged isolation of West New Guinea populations, lead us to regard these patterns as New Guinea population markers, which may harbor the genetic memory of the earliest human migrations to the island. Am J Phys Anthropol 117:49–67, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.