The SC genotype of the JC polyomavirus is the key to understanding the origin and dispersal of southeastern Asians. We performed a phylogenetic analysis based on complete DNA sequences of 24 SC isolates worldwide, including 11 in China, three in Vietnam, two in Malaysia, two in Myanmar, one in Indonesia, two in Mauritius, one in Zambia, one in South Africa, and one in Hawaii, USA. The results suggest that although SC isolates worldwide can be classified into several subgroups, only one (SC-f) has attained a worldwide distribution. This conclusion was confirmed by a single nucleotide polymorphism analysis of 275 reported partial SC DNA sequences worldwide. Based on the present findings, inferences can be made regarding the ancient dispersals of southeastern Asians carrying particular SC subgroups.
The maximum curvature of the greater sciatic notch and two standardized indices were calculated for use in the sexing of human hip bones. This was done by means of quadratic regression of the contour points of the greater sciatic notch. The new variables are not directly affected by the osteometric landmarks (e.g. ischial spine, tubercle of the piriformis, and posterior inferior iliac spine) which determine the greatest width of the notch. These landmarks are, however, known to be ill-defined on occasion, but nevertheless have been used to derive the conventional depth-to-width index and angles of the sciatic notch. The curvature parameter and its new indices were applied to the sciatic notch of 164 Japanese hip bones of known sex (104 males and 61 females). The accuracy of the new variables in the determination of sex was assessed and compared with that of the conventional indices and angles of the sciatic notch. The best discriminating variable was found to be the posterior angle with an accuracy of 91%. The new parameters of the present study that represent localized shape of the sharply curved edge of the notch diagnosed sex with an accuracy of 88%. In paleoanthropological or forensic cases, using the maximum curvature of the sciatic notch and its indices may be applicable to sexing the hip bones of specimens with postmortem damage.
HLA-DRB1 polymorphism was investigated by molecular DNA-based typing in 37 Tongans living on Ha’ano island of the Ha’apai group. The predominant HLA-DRB1 alleles were DRB1*0901 (20.3%) and DRB1*0403 (18.9%). A principal component analysis of the DRB1 allele frequencies discriminated between the Polynesians and other Oceanian populations, including Melanesians, Micronesians, and Australian Aborigines. Both present and previous studies have shown that the allele frequency of DRB1*0901 is markedly high in Polynesians and Asians, while this allele is seldom found in Non-Austronesian (NAN)-speaking Melanesians, Micronesians, and Australian Aborigines. Furthermore, we analyzed the frequencies of allele coding for Arg at position 196 (196R: nucleotide [nt] 587G) of tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2, TNF-R75) in three Oceanian populations: Tongans, Austronesian (AN)-speaking Balopa islanders living in Manus province of Papua New Guinea, and NAN-speaking Gidra living in the southwestern lowlands of Papua New Guinea. The frequencies of the TNFR2-196R allele, observed at a relatively high frequency in East and Southeast Asian populations, were 24.0%, 7.3%, and 1.0% in the Tongans, Balopa islanders, and Gidra, respectively. Considering that the allele frequencies of DRB1*0901 and TNFR2 196R are relatively high in Asians, Polynesians, and AN-speaking Melanesians (Balopa islanders), but very low in NAN-speaking Melanesians (Gidra), we conclude that at least part of the AN-speaking Polynesian ancestors were derived from Asian populations, and that extensive gene flow from the Polynesian ancestors to the indigenous Melanesians occurred around their initial migration to Melanesia. This is consistent with the results from analyses of mitochondrial DNA and ABO blood group gene polymorphisms in the same study populations.
Eight human skeletons in a good state of preservation have been recovered from excavations at the Hasekouji-Shuhen site in Kamakura city, Kanto region, Japan. We conducted AMS radiocarbon dating that revealed the skeletons to belong to the early historic Asuka, Nara, and early Heian periods (circa 670–970 calAD). In terms of their cranial, dental, and limb bone measurements, the Hasekouji-Shuhen skeletons exhibit morphological characteristics that show affinities with the earlier Yayoi series, which are generally considered to represent immigrant populations from the Asian continent. Furthermore, an early indication of dolichocephalization was observed in these early historic people, a trait which became more pronounced in later medieval times. Three adult males have scars that may have been caused by assaults with a spear or a sword-like weapon. One male individual exhibits skeletal abnormalities including multiple cartilaginous exostosis.
Ancient DNA, sampled from ten brown bear (Ursus arctos) skulls excavated from a rock shelter site of the Ainu culture at Bihue, central Hokkaido, Japan, was analyzed. This ritual site (iwaya or siratcise), located in a mountainous area near the western coast of Lake Shikotsu, is considered to have been used for bear-sending ceremonies by the Ainu people at least until about 70 years ago. We identified four mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes at Bihue, all of which were shared by the modern brown bears of Hokkaido. A previous study showed that three mtDNA lineages (groups A, B, and C) of modern brown bears are allopatrically distributed: group A in north-central Hokkaido, group B in eastern Hokkaido, and group C in southern Hokkaido. The ritual site of Bihue is located in the group C area. While one haplotype of group C was recovered from four of the Bihue skulls, three haplotypes of group A were recovered from six skulls. No haplotype of group B was found. The distribution of the four identified haplotypes at Bihue overlaps extensively with the area of the Ainu community called Shumukuru. These results indicate that, at the Bihue ritual site, the Ainu people probably performed bear-sending ceremonies that included skulls of bears that lived far from the Bihue area. This suggests that, earlier in the Ainu culture period (after the 17th century), the Bihue ritual site could have been used by multiple villages within an Ainu community, such as the Shumukuru, and/or that bear-hunting areas may have expanded from Bihue. This might have led to the promotion of cultural communication and unity among local villages via bear-sending ceremonies.
The Mammalian Crania Photographic Archive (MCPA2) is a website (http://1kai.dokkyomed.ac.jp/mammal/en/mammal.html) that includes a collection of 10,950 photographs of mammalian crania, which have been taken with a high-resolution digital camera. In the present report, we outline the characteristics of MCPA2 and how it was created, and make brief comparisons with several similar websites currently accessible via the internet. The archived MCPA2 materials include 1825 cranial specimens, ranging from insectivores to elephants, which have been macerated in Japan during the past 35 years and prepared for osteological study. Of the 16 orders represented in the database, primates comprise the major group with 704 specimens. Each cranium was placed with the orbitomeatal (Frankfort) or palatine plane horizontal, and was photographed in six perpendicular views from a long distance using a telephoto or telemacro lens. These long-distance shots decrease perspective distortion that lead to measurement errors when studying cranial profiles and landmark positions, and enable detailed observation and measurement of specific bony characteristics on a computer screen. From our website, images can be searched using (1) the taxonomic table, (2) Japanese name, (3) English name, and (4) scientific name. In the page of search results, in addition to the images, four caliper measurements and additional text (taxonomy, sex, and age) are available for every specimen.
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