Other Companies Must Revise Their Human Migration Maps
Since Stephen Oppenheimer's The Real Eve suggested that the main out-of-Africa migration of humans proceeded across the mouth of the Gulf of Suez and around the coasts of Arabia, India and Southeast Asia (the "beachcomber route"), controversy has raged about the origin of Asians, whether they split off from the first out-of-Africa groups, sometimes called macro-haplogroup M, in the north central Asian highlands or the Middle East or elsewhere. A massive project spearheaded by the Chinese has put that question to rest. The 40-institution HUGO Pan-Asian SNP Consortium "strongly concludes the southern route made a more important contribution to East and Southeast Asian populations than the northern route," says Li Jin, a population geneticist at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Jin was one of the lead authors of a study reported in Science, vol. 326, no. 5959, p. 1470, "SNP Study Supports Southern Migration Route To Asia," by Dennis Normile.
DNA Consultants has always followed Oppenheimer's model of the settlement of Asia, but other companies, including the National Geographic Genographic Project with over 200,000 customers purchasing their product, inform their customers differently. Most human migration maps displayed by DNA companies and the news media show Asians splitting off from Europeans and Native Americans in the northern latitudes of Central Asia and do not depict a southern "beachcomber" route at all.
Newly proven southern migration routes.
In July of this year, DNA Consultants discovered ethnic markers it released in its 18 Marker Ethnic Panel that prove a southern divide and origin for Asian populations as in the new study.
According to the Science report, "Anthropologists, ethnographers, and linguists have long struggled to understand the patchwork-quilt diversity of Asia. Indonesia alone claims some 300 ethnic groups; the Philippines has 180 native languages and dialects. Where did they all come from?"
So the previously dominant theory of two major waves of migration from the Middle East must now yield to just one initial migration along the coastal route with populations moving north into East Asia from India and Southeast Asia (see map).
The new study is vindication for the Chinese genetics community, which has often been dismissed and rejected by European and American geneticists. Vincent Macaulay, co-author with Martin Richards of the seminal paper followed by most DNA testing companies, " Tracing European founder lineages in the Near Eastern mtDNA pool," (American Journal of Human Genetics, 67, 1251-1276), when asked about the new findings admitted that the southern coastal route now "seems very strong," as quoted in Science.
Human Migration Map from DNA Consultants' 18 Marker Ethnic Panel.
The study used samples from more than 1900 individuals representing 73 populations and involved 93 researches at 40 institutions in 11 countries and regions in Asia. It was "conceived by Asians in Asia and executed, funded, and completed by an Asian consortium," said Edison Liu, executive director of the Genome Insitute of Singapore. Researchers screened each individual for more than 50,000 SNPs.