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Further evidence of an Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool on Easter Island


Erik Thorsby, MD
Institute of Immunology
Rikshospitalet University Hospital
N-0027 Oslo
Tel: +47 2307 3500
Fax: +47 2307 3510


Available evidence suggests a Polynesian origin of the Easter Island population. We recently found that some native Easter Islanders also carried some common American Indian (Amerindian) human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles, which probably were introduced before Europeans discovered the island in 1722. In this study, we report molecular genetic investigations of 21 other selected native Easter Islanders. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome markers showed no traces of an Amerindian contribution. However, high-resolution genomic HLA typing showed that two individuals carried some other common Amerindian HLA alleles, different from those found in our previous investigations. The new data support our previous evidence of an Amerindian contribution to the gene pool on Easter Island.