Australia discovered by the 'Southern Route'

Jul 21, 2009

Genetic research indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology have found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines.

Dr Raghavendra Rao worked with a team of researchers from the Anthropological Survey of to sequence 966 complete mitochondrial DNA genomes from Indian 'relic populations'. He said, " is inherited only from the mother and so allows us to accurately trace ancestry. We found certain mutations in the of the Indian tribes we sampled that are specific to Australian Aborigines. This shared ancestry suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called 'Southern Route'".

The 'Southern Route' dispersal of modern humans suggests movement of a group of hunter-gatherers from the Horn of Africa, across the mouth of the Red Sea into Arabia and southern Asia at least 50 thousand years ago. Subsequently, the modern human populations expanded rapidly along the coastlines of southern Asia, southeastern Asia and Indonesia to arrive in Australia at least 45 thousand years ago. The genetic evidence of this dispersal from the work of Rao and his colleagues is supported by of human occupation in the Lake Mungo area of Australia dated to approximately the same time period.

Discussing the implications of the research, Rao said, "Human evolution is usually understood in terms of millions of years. This direct indicates that the emergence of 'anatomically modern' humans in Africa and the spread of these humans to other parts of the world happened only fifty thousand or so years ago. In this respect, populations in the Indian subcontinent harbor DNA footprints of the earliest expansion out of Africa. Understanding human evolution helps us to understand the biological and cultural expressions of these people, with far reaching implications for human welfare."

More information: Reconstructing Indian-Australian phylogenetic link. Satish Kumar, Rajasekhara REDDY Ravuri, Padmaja Koneru, B P Urade, B N Sarkar, A Chandrasekar and V R Rao, (in press), http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcevolbiol/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: What gave us the advantage over extinct types of humans?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Humans went out of Africa for shellfish

May 13, 2005

The lure of a seafood diet may explain why early humans came out of Africa, according to research by the universities of Leeds and Glasgow published in Science this week. Early modern humans in East Africa survived on an inla ...

The 'spread of our species'

Nov 08, 2005

Modern humans arrival in South Asia may have led to demise of indigenous populations. In a major new development in human evolutionary studies, researchers from the University of Cambridge argue that the dispersal of m ...

China's earliest modern human

Apr 02, 2007

Researchers at WUSTL and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing have been studying a 40,000-year-old early modern human skeleton found in China and have determined ...

Tracing African-American Ancestry Difficult

Oct 12, 2006

Mitochondrial DNA may not hold the key to unlocking the ancestry of African Americans, according to a study by a University of South Carolina researcher published in this week’s issue of the journal BMC Biology.

Recommended for you

Genome yields insights into golden eagle vision, smell

10 hours ago

Purdue and West Virginia University researchers are the first to sequence the genome of the golden eagle, providing a bird's-eye view of eagle features that could lead to more effective conservation strategies.

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

11 hours ago

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

11 hours ago

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...

Engineered E. coli produces high levels of D-ribose

12 hours ago

D-ribose is a commercially important sugar used as a sweetener, a nutritional supplement, and as a starting compound for synthesizing riboflavin and several antiviral drugs. Genetic engineering of Escherichia co ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

lengould100
not rated yet Jul 22, 2009
the emergence of 'anatomically modern' humans in Africa and the spread of these humans to other parts of the world happened only fifty thousand or so years ago.
only 50 k years for the existence of modern humans outside of Africa? A shockingly short time, historically.

More news stories

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...

Cell resiliency surprises scientists

New research shows that cells are more resilient in taking care of their DNA than scientists originally thought. Even when missing critical components, cells can adapt and make copies of their DNA in an alternative ...