An aboriginal Australian genome reveals separate human dispersals into Asia

Morten Rasmussen, Xiaosen Guo, Yong Wang, Kirk E. Lohmueller, Simon Rasmussen, Anders Albrechtsen, Line Skotte, Stinus Lindgreen, Mait Metspalu, Thibaut Jombart, Toomas Kivisild, Weiwei Zhai, Anders Eriksson, Andrea Manica, Ludovic Orlando, Francisco M. De La Vega, Silvana Tridico, Ene Metspalu, Kasper Nielsen, María C. Ávila-ArcosJ. Víctor Moreno-Mayar, Craig Muller, Joe Dortch, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Ole Lund, Agata Wesolowska, Monika Karmin, Lucy A. Weinert, Bo Wang, Jun Li, Shuaishuai Tai, Fei Xiao, Tsunehiko Hanihara, George Van Driem, Aashish R. Jha, François Xavier Ricaut, Peter De Knijff, Andrea B. Migliano, Irene Gallego Romero, Karsten Kristiansen, David M. Lambert, Søren Brunak, Peter Forster, Bernd Brinkmann, Olaf Nehlich, Michael Bunce, Michael Richards, Ramneek Gupta, Carlos D. Bustamante, Anders Krogh, Robert A. Foley, Marta M. Lahr, Francois Balloux, Thomas Sicheritz-Pontén, Richard Villems, Rasmus Nielsen, Jun Wang, Eske Willerslev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We present an Aboriginal Australian genomic sequence obtained from a 100-year-old lock of hair donated by an Aboriginal man from southern Western Australia in the early 20th century. We detect no evidence of European admixture and estimate contamination levels to be below 0.5%. We show that Aboriginal Australians are descendants of an early human dispersal into eastern Asia, possibly 62,000 to 75,000 years ago. This dispersal is separate from the one that gave rise to modern Asians 25,000 to 38,000 years ago. We also find evidence of gene flow between populations of the two dispersal waves prior to the divergence of Native Americans from modern Asian ancestors. Our findings support the hypothesis that present-day Aboriginal Australians descend from the earliest humans to occupy Australia, likely representing one of the oldest continuous populations outside Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-98
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume334
Issue number6052
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 7 2011

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    Rasmussen, M., Guo, X., Wang, Y., Lohmueller, K. E., Rasmussen, S., Albrechtsen, A., Skotte, L., Lindgreen, S., Metspalu, M., Jombart, T., Kivisild, T., Zhai, W., Eriksson, A., Manica, A., Orlando, L., De La Vega, F. M., Tridico, S., Metspalu, E., Nielsen, K., ... Willerslev, E. (2011). An aboriginal Australian genome reveals separate human dispersals into Asia. Science, 334(6052), 94-98. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1211177