Okinawan ancestors much closer to people of Japan than Taiwan or China

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A collaboration study group led by Takehiro Sato, a postdoctoral fellow at the Graduate School of Medicine of the University of the Ryukyus, and Ryosuke Kimura, an associate professor at the same institution, announced the results of their study showing that people of the Ryukyu chain of islands do not have the hereditary direct connection with people of Taiwan or other groups of people on the continental China. Thus, Okinawan ancestors can be traced back to the mainland of Japan.

The results of the study were posted on the on-line version of the Molecular Biology and Evolution that is an international professional journal specializing in molecular evolution, based in England.

past studies of analyzing bones’ DNA have shown that the people of the Ryukyu island chain are much closer to the people in the mainland of Japan than China or Taiwan.  This study led to similar conclusions as before by analyzing all of the genome.

The study team obtained about 350 people’s DNA from the main island of Okinawa, and Yaeyama, Miyako districts, and analyzed more than half a million points of base sequences (SNP) per person.  As a result, the study concluded that the people living on the Ryukyu chain of islands and natives of Taiwan differ from each other in genetic connection.

On the other hand, the Minatogawa-man that is an 18,000-year-old fossil of human remains discovered in the southern part of the main island of Okinawa is not considered to be an ancestor of people on the main island of Okinawa. However, that needs still more study.

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