Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Paternal genetic affinity between western Austronesians and Daic populations

Hui Li12*, Bo Wen1, Shu-Juo Chen34, Bing Su5, Patcharin Pramoonjago6, Yangfan Liu1, Shangling Pan7, Zhendong Qin1, Wenhong Liu1, Xu Cheng1, Ningning Yang1, Xin Li12, Dinhbinh Tran8, Daru Lu1, Mu-Tsu Hsu3, Ranjan Deka9, Sangkot Marzuki5, Chia-Chen Tan1 and Li Jin110*

Author Affiliations

1 MOE Key Laboratory of Contemporary Anthropology and Center for Evolutionary Biology, School of Life Sciences and Institutes for Biomedical Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China

2 Department of Genetics, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven CT 06520, USA

3 Graduate Institute of Anthropology, Tzu Chi University, Hualien 970, Taiwan, China

4 Department of Anthropological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

5 Key Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China

6 Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Jakarta, Indonesia

7 Department of Pathophysiology, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning 530021, China

8 Huê Medical College, Huê, Viêtnam

9 Center for Genome Information, Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA

10 CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, SIBS, CAS, Shanghai 200013, China

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2008, 8:146  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-146

Published: 15 May 2008



Austronesian is a linguistic family spread in most areas of the Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. Based on their linguistic similarity, this linguistic family included Malayo-Polynesians and Taiwan aborigines. The linguistic similarity also led to the controversial hypothesis that Taiwan is the homeland of all the Malayo-Polynesians, a hypothesis that has been debated by ethnologists, linguists, archaeologists, and geneticists. It is well accepted that the Eastern Austronesians (Micronesians and Polynesians) derived from the Western Austronesians (Island Southeast Asians and Taiwanese), and that the Daic populations on the mainland are supposed to be the headstream of all the Austronesian populations.


In this report, we studied 20 SNPs and 7 STRs in the non-recombining region of the 1,509 Y chromosomes from 30 China Daic populations, 23 Indonesian and Vietnam Malayo-Polynesian populations, and 11 Taiwan aboriginal populations. These three groups show many resemblances in paternal lineages. Admixture analyses demonstrated that the Daic populations are hardly influenced by Han Chinese genetically, and that they make up the largest proportion of Indonesians. Most of the population samples contain a high frequency of haplogroup O1a-M119, which is nearly absent in other ethnic families. The STR network of haplogroup O1a* illustrated that Indonesian lineages did not derive from Taiwan aborigines as linguistic studies suggest, but from Daic populations.


We show that, in contrast to the Taiwan homeland hypothesis, the Island Southeast Asians do not have a Taiwan origin based on their paternal lineages. Furthermore, we show that both Taiwan aborigines and Indonesians likely derived from the Daic populations based on their paternal lineages. These two populations seem to have evolved independently of each other. Our results indicate that a super-phylum, which includes Taiwan aborigines, Daic, and Malayo-Polynesians, is genetically educible.