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Genetic and linguistic coevolution in Northern Island Melanesia.

Hunley K, Dunn M, Lindström E, Reesink G, Terrill A, Healy ME, Koki G, Friedlaender FR, Friedlaender JS - PLoS Genet. (2008)

Bottom Line: There we found some of the strongest recorded correlations between genetic, linguistic, and geographic distances.We also found that, throughout the region, linguistic features have generally been less likely to diffuse across population boundaries than genes.The results from our study, based on exceptionally fine-grained data, show that local genetic and linguistic exchange are likely to obscure evidence of the early history of a region, and that language barriers do not particularly hinder genetic exchange.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA. khunley@unm.edu

ABSTRACT
Recent studies have detailed a remarkable degree of genetic and linguistic diversity in Northern Island Melanesia. Here we utilize that diversity to examine two models of genetic and linguistic coevolution. The first model predicts that genetic and linguistic correspondences formed following population splits and isolation at the time of early range expansions into the region. The second is analogous to the genetic model of isolation by distance, and it predicts that genetic and linguistic correspondences formed through continuing genetic and linguistic exchange between neighboring populations. We tested the predictions of the two models by comparing observed and simulated patterns of genetic variation, genetic and linguistic trees, and matrices of genetic, linguistic, and geographic distances. The data consist of 751 autosomal microsatellites and 108 structural linguistic features collected from 33 Northern Island Melanesian populations. The results of the tests indicate that linguistic and genetic exchange have erased any evidence of a splitting and isolation process that might have occurred early in the settlement history of the region. The correlation patterns are also inconsistent with the predictions of the isolation by distance coevolutionary process in the larger Northern Island Melanesian region, but there is strong evidence for the process in the rugged interior of the largest island in the region (New Britain). There we found some of the strongest recorded correlations between genetic, linguistic, and geographic distances. We also found that, throughout the region, linguistic features have generally been less likely to diffuse across population boundaries than genes. The results from our study, based on exceptionally fine-grained data, show that local genetic and linguistic exchange are likely to obscure evidence of the early history of a region, and that language barriers do not particularly hinder genetic exchange. In contrast, global patterns may emphasize more ancient demographic events, including population splits associated with the early colonization of major world regions.

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Population history for the branching model simulations.The first division is between Oceanic and Papuan languages, and subsequent splits occur in a nested fashion between and within each island. In the simulations, there is no migration between any populations.
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pgen-1000239-g002: Population history for the branching model simulations.The first division is between Oceanic and Papuan languages, and subsequent splits occur in a nested fashion between and within each island. In the simulations, there is no migration between any populations.

Mentions: We used coalescent-based computer simulations to construct the predicted pattern of allelic identity variation for the branching model. The simulations are detailed in Text S1. The presumed history of population splits used as the basis for the simulated branching model is shown in Figure 2. The first division is between Oceanic- and Papuan-speaking populations, whose ancestors would have separated long before the initial settlement of NIM and whose descendants would have continued to remain separate according to the branching model. The model also predicts that subsequent splits would have occurred in a nested fashion between and then within each island and that no migration would have occurred between populations.


Genetic and linguistic coevolution in Northern Island Melanesia.

Hunley K, Dunn M, Lindström E, Reesink G, Terrill A, Healy ME, Koki G, Friedlaender FR, Friedlaender JS - PLoS Genet. (2008)

Population history for the branching model simulations.The first division is between Oceanic and Papuan languages, and subsequent splits occur in a nested fashion between and within each island. In the simulations, there is no migration between any populations.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2570610&req=5

pgen-1000239-g002: Population history for the branching model simulations.The first division is between Oceanic and Papuan languages, and subsequent splits occur in a nested fashion between and within each island. In the simulations, there is no migration between any populations.
Mentions: We used coalescent-based computer simulations to construct the predicted pattern of allelic identity variation for the branching model. The simulations are detailed in Text S1. The presumed history of population splits used as the basis for the simulated branching model is shown in Figure 2. The first division is between Oceanic- and Papuan-speaking populations, whose ancestors would have separated long before the initial settlement of NIM and whose descendants would have continued to remain separate according to the branching model. The model also predicts that subsequent splits would have occurred in a nested fashion between and then within each island and that no migration would have occurred between populations.

Bottom Line: There we found some of the strongest recorded correlations between genetic, linguistic, and geographic distances.We also found that, throughout the region, linguistic features have generally been less likely to diffuse across population boundaries than genes.The results from our study, based on exceptionally fine-grained data, show that local genetic and linguistic exchange are likely to obscure evidence of the early history of a region, and that language barriers do not particularly hinder genetic exchange.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA. khunley@unm.edu

ABSTRACT
Recent studies have detailed a remarkable degree of genetic and linguistic diversity in Northern Island Melanesia. Here we utilize that diversity to examine two models of genetic and linguistic coevolution. The first model predicts that genetic and linguistic correspondences formed following population splits and isolation at the time of early range expansions into the region. The second is analogous to the genetic model of isolation by distance, and it predicts that genetic and linguistic correspondences formed through continuing genetic and linguistic exchange between neighboring populations. We tested the predictions of the two models by comparing observed and simulated patterns of genetic variation, genetic and linguistic trees, and matrices of genetic, linguistic, and geographic distances. The data consist of 751 autosomal microsatellites and 108 structural linguistic features collected from 33 Northern Island Melanesian populations. The results of the tests indicate that linguistic and genetic exchange have erased any evidence of a splitting and isolation process that might have occurred early in the settlement history of the region. The correlation patterns are also inconsistent with the predictions of the isolation by distance coevolutionary process in the larger Northern Island Melanesian region, but there is strong evidence for the process in the rugged interior of the largest island in the region (New Britain). There we found some of the strongest recorded correlations between genetic, linguistic, and geographic distances. We also found that, throughout the region, linguistic features have generally been less likely to diffuse across population boundaries than genes. The results from our study, based on exceptionally fine-grained data, show that local genetic and linguistic exchange are likely to obscure evidence of the early history of a region, and that language barriers do not particularly hinder genetic exchange. In contrast, global patterns may emphasize more ancient demographic events, including population splits associated with the early colonization of major world regions.

Show MeSH