Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Human adolescence spent in South Asia

Media release
5 February 2008


Human adolescence spent in South Asia

Over half of the world’s population lived in Southern Asia 50,000 years ago, on their way from Africa to populate the rest of the world, new research has suggested.

Researchers from The University of Auckland have used DNA to track the movement of humans from their initial birthplace of Africa. The research has shown that over half the population lived in Southern Asia between 50,000 and 25,000 years ago. By comparison, around a third of the world population lives there today.

By tracking mitochondrial DNA, inherited from the mother only, back through the ages to common ancestors, the scientists have been able to plot past population size in eight major geographic regions; Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, North and Central Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, New Guinea, and the Americas. The research showed a slow increase in population size in Africa, with a large jump in population size in Southern Asia around 50,000 years ago. Sudden increases, of a smaller scale, were also seen in Australia around 50,000 years ago, Europe 45,000 and 15,000 years ago, and the Americas 20,000 years ago.

“By using genetic techniques, we can track populations in size and geography over long periods of time,” says Dr Alexei Drummond of the Department of Computer Science. “Human mitochondrial DNA patterns reveal that we spent our adolescence, around 50,000 years ago, in Southern Asia, before spreading to other areas of the globe. This means if we want to better understand this crucial period of human history then research should focus on this area more than it currently does.”

The research was conducted by University of Auckland researchers Dr Alexei Drummond of the Department of Computer Science and Professor Russell Gray of the Department of Psychology, in collaboration with former PhD student Quentin Atkinson, now based at the University of Oxford. The research is published in the latest Molecular Biology and Evolution journal.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Trade Plans: Prime Minister's Speech To International Business Forum

"The work to improve public services, build infrastructure, and solve social problems is possible only because we have enjoyed sustained, solid economic growth. A big reason for that is the Government’s consistent agenda of economic reform, and our determination to open up more opportunities for trade with the world." More>>

ALSO:

Media: TVNZ Flags Job Cuts To Arrest Profit Decline

Chief executive Kevin Kenrick said the changes were aimed at creating "a sustainable future video content business for TVNZ in an ever-changing media market." More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: Wheeler Keeps OCR At 1.75%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate unchanged at 1.75 percent, as expected, and reiterated his view that the benchmark rate doesn't need shifting for the foreseeable future. More>>

ALSO:

Retail: Pumpkin Patch Brand, IP Sold To Catch Group

The receivers of failed children's clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch have confirmed that the company's brand and intellectual property have been sold to Australian online retailer Catch Group. More>>

ALSO:

Oil: 2017 Block Offer Petroleum Tender Launched

New Zealand is well-placed to take advantage of the economic benefits of oil and gas exploration, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins announced today at the launch of the 2017 Block Offer petroleum tender. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news