Archaeological, linguistic, and genetic studies show that Austronesian (AN)-speaking Polynesian ancestors came from Asia/Taiwan to the Bismarck Archipelago in Near Oceania more than 3,600 years ago, and then expanded into Remote Oceania. However, it remains unclear whether they extensively mixed with indigenous Melanesians who had populated the Bismarck Archipelago before their arrival. To examine the extent of admixture between Polynesian ancestors and indigenous Melanesians, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variations in the D-loop region and the cytochrome oxidase and lysine transfer RNA (COII/tRNA(Lys)) intergenic 9-bp deletion were analyzed in the following three Oceanian populations: 1) Balopa Islanders as AN-speaking Melanesians living in the northwestern end of the Bismarck Archipelago, 2) Tongans as AN-speaking Polynesians, and 3) Gidra as non-Austronesian-speaking Melanesians in the southwestern lowlands of Papua New Guinea. Phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA sequences revealed that more than 60% of mtDNA sequences in the Balopa Islanders were very similar to those in Tongans, suggesting an extensive gene flow from Polynesian ancestors to indigenous Melanesians. Furthermore, analysis of pairwise difference distributions for the D-loop sequences with the 9-bp deletion and the Polynesian motif (i.e., T16217C, A16247G, and C16261T) suggested that the expansion of Polynesian ancestors possessing these variations occurred approximately 7,000 years ago.
The frequency and form of the middle trigonid crest (MTC) in lower permanent molars is reported for 1,131 dental casts of Bushman (San), Bantu, Solomons, Hawaiians, Pima, Eskimo, Navajo, Chinese, and American whites. The MTC occurs most often on the first molar. We found very little intra-trait variation, so observations were scored on a present-absent basis. The MTC is most frequent in the African samples and rare in those of the other populations. Two reference plaques can be obtained to add to the existing series in the ASU dental anthropology system.
OBJECTIVES. To compare cardiovascular risk factor levels between non-westernized Melanesians, apparently free from stroke and ischaemic heart disease, nd healthy Swedish populations, and to analyse, among adult Melanesians, relations with age, sex and smoking status. DESIGN. Cross-sectional survey. SUBJECTS. (i) Traditional horticulturalists in Kitava, Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea, uninfluenced by western diet. this study tested 151 males and 69 females aged 14-87 years with 76% and 80% smokers over 20 years. (ii) Healthy Swedish reference populations. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Sitting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, weight, height, body mass index, circumferences of waist, pelvis and mid upper arm, triceps skinfold thickness, fasting serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, estimated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein A1 and apolipoprotein (a). RESULTS. Compared to Sweden, diastolic blood pressure, body mass index and triceps skinfold thickness were substantially lower in Kitava, where all subjects > or = 40 years were below Swedish medians. Among males > or = 20 and females > or = 60 years systolic blood pressure was lower in Kitavans. Fasting serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B were 10-30% lower in Kitavan males > or = 40 and females > or = 60 years. Triglycerides were higher in Kitavans aged 20-39. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol did not differ while apolipoprotein A1 was lower in Kitavans. Apolipoprotein (a) tended to be lower in Kitavans, but the differences were small. CONCLUSIONS. Of the analysed variables, leanness and low diastolic blood pressure seem to offer the best explanations for the apparent absence of stroke and ischaemic heart disease in Kitava. The lower serum cholesterol may provide some additional benefit. Differences in dietary habits may explain the findings.
Recent behavioral experiments aimed at understanding the evolutionary foundations of human cooperation have suggested that a willingness to engage in costly punishment, even in one-shot situations, may be part of human psychology and a key element in understanding our sociality. However, because most experiments have been confined to students in industrialized societies, generalizations of these insights to the species have necessarily been tentative. Here, experimental results from 15 diverse populations show that (i) all populations demonstrate some willingness to administer costly punishment as unequal behavior increases, (ii) the magnitude of this punishment varies substantially across populations, and (iii) costly punishment positively covaries with altruistic behavior across populations. These findings are consistent with models of the gene-culture coevolution of human altruism and further sharpen what any theory of human cooperation needs to explain.
Comment In: Science. 2006 Jun 23;312(5781):172716794045
There is considerable variation between and within populations with regard to tooth size, age of eruption, congenitally missing teeth, and crown morphology. These differences are a reflection of the ongoing process of evolution. The genetic basis for this variation is best explained by a polygenic model of inheritance. Even though tooth morpholoyg and agenesis have discontinuous distributions - usually evidence of single gene transmission - they are also polygenic traits and are examples of "quasi-continuous" characteristics. These are traits which exhibit phenotypic discontinuity at the end of a continuous distribution. Postnatal conditions such as nutrition, disease, or climate seem to have little influence on normal dental variation. Most of the environmental factors which affect the dentition occur during the prenatal period. In particular the quality of the intrauterine environment appears to be most important. This suggests that good prenatal nutrition and medical care are needed for a normal and healthy dentition.
HLA-B27 is present throughout Eurasia but is virtually absent among the genetically unmixed native populations of South America, Australia, and among equatorial and southern African Bantus and Sans (Bushmen). It has a very high prevalence among the native peoples of the circumpolar arctic and subarctic regions of Eurasia and North America, and in some regions of Melanesia. Results of recent epidemiologic studies of spondyloarthropathies in populations with a relatively high prevalence of B27 are also reviewed.
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I), the cause of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), is widespread in the Pacific basin. Modes of virus transmission include blood transfusion (and intravenous drug use), breast milk, and sexual intercourse. High prevalences of HTLV-I infection and disease occur among the inhabitants of southwestern Japan and among first- and second-generation (issei and nisei) Japanese-Americans in the Hawaiian Islands. Other Pacific populations with high prevalences of HTLV-I infection include several remote groups in West New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, which have had no contact with Japanese or Africans. By contrast, Micronesian and Polynesian populations, even those with prolonged contact with Japanese, exhibit low prevalences or no evidence of HTLV-I infection. Low prevalences of infection are also found in Australia, except among some aboriginal populations. Changing patterns of HTLV-I infection and disease are no better exemplified than in Japan, where striking reductions in transfusion-acquired infection and subsequent development of HAM/TSP have followed the institution of nationwide screening of blood donors for HTLV-I infection. Furthermore, virus transmission from mother to infant by means of infected breast milk has been markedly curtailed in HTLV-I-hyperendemic regions in Japan by interrupting the practice of breast feeding by HTLV-I-infected mothers. The next frontier of HTLV-I research is in Melanesia, where highly divergent sequence variants of HTLV-I have been discovered.