「Study: DNA of ancient Japanese different from other Asians」
By AKEMI KANDA/ Staff Writer
September 2, 2016 at 18:55 JST

Researchers have discovered that the DNA of Japanese from the Jomon period about 3,000 years ago is significantly different from present-day East and Southeast Asians on the continent.

The findings support the conventional theory that the origins of modern Japanese are a mix of people who lived in Japan during the Jomon Pottery Culture (c. 8000 B.C.-A.D. 300) and those who later came from continental Asia.

A team of experts from the National Museum of Science and Nature, the Sokendai graduate university and other institutions decoded the genome of cell nuclei extracted from the teeth of the remains of two individuals from about 3,000 years ago. The remains were excavated from the Sanganji Shell Mound in the northern part of Fukushima Prefecture.

“Our DNA decoding is an evidence that supports the conventional theory on the origin of Japanese people,” said Hideaki Kanzawa, a researcher from the museum of science and nature.

Among contemporary Japanese, the Ainu people of Hokkaido have the closest genetic characteristics to Jomons, followed by the Ryukyuan people of Okinawa and people living around Tokyo.

The research team’s findings were published Sept. 1 in the Journal of Human Genetics.

The team decoded about 115 million nucleic acids out of a total of 3 billion. It was the first time that genome decoding was conducted on Jomon period remains.

The team then compared the data with contemporary populations from around the world.

The DNA of Chinese living in Beijing, indigenous people in southern China and Vietnamese were all closely related. However, the DNA of the Jomon remains was significantly different from these groups.

Scientists believe that modern Homo sapiens first reached Asia around 40,000 to 50,000 years ago, then branched off into different groups.

The DNA decoding revealed that the lineage of the Jomon population diverged 15,000 years ago at the latest. Current East Asian and Southeast Asian populations evolved from a different lineage, according to the research team.

Modern-day Japanese have long been considered to be a result of miscegenation between the Jomon people and continental populations that came to the Japanese archipelago during and after the Yayoi Pottery Culture (300 B.C.-A.D. 300).


original Japanese : 
「縄文人の核DNA初解読 東アジア人と大きく特徴異なる」
神田明美  2016年9月1日19時28分