Journal of Human Genetics

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 106–120 | Cite as

Austronesian genetic signature in East African Madagascar and Polynesia

  • M. Regueiro
  • S. Mirabal
  • H. Lacau
  • J. L. Caeiro
  • R. L. Garcia-Bertrand
  • R. J. HerreraEmail author
Original article


The dispersal of the Austronesian language family from Southeast Asia represents the last major diaspora leading to the peopling of Oceania to the East and the Indian Ocean to the West. Several theories have been proposed to explain the current locations, and the linguistic and cultural diversity of Austronesian populations. However, the existing data do not support unequivocally any given migrational scenario. In the current study, the genetic profile of 15 autosomal STR loci is reported for the first time for two populations from opposite poles of the Austronesian range, Madagascar at the West and Tonga to the East. These collections are also compared to geographically targeted reference populations of Austronesian descent in order to investigate their current relationships and potential source population(s) within Southeast Asia. Our results indicate that while Madagascar derives 66.3% of its genetic makeup from Africa, a clear connection between the East African island and Southeast Asia can be discerned. The data suggest that although geographic location has influenced the phylogenetic relationships between Austronesian populations, a genetic connection that binds them beyond geographical divides is apparent.


Austronesian expansion Madagascar Tonga Samoa Autosomal STRs 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The Japan Society of Human Genetics and Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Regueiro
    • 1
  • S. Mirabal
    • 1
  • H. Lacau
    • 1
  • J. L. Caeiro
    • 2
  • R. L. Garcia-Bertrand
    • 3
  • R. J. Herrera
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Seccion de Antropoloxia, Facultade de BioloxiaUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaGaliciaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesColorado CollegeColorado SpringsUSA

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