New publication: “Papua New Guinean genomes reveal the complex settlement of north Sahul”

Members of the Papuan Past Project published a study on August 12th 2021 in Molecular Biology and Evolution which explores the genomic history of northern Sahul populations, and reveals the pattern of settlement and migration into and from the New Guinea Island region over the last 50-60 kya.

Genomic scenario of the human dynamics in north Sahul during the Upper Pleistocene. Light blue arrows represent the settlement of north Sahul following a scenario with one migration to Sahul (model A). The dark blue arrows represent the settlement of north Sahul following a scenario with two migrations to Sahul (model B).
Continue reading “New publication: “Papua New Guinean genomes reveal the complex settlement of north Sahul””

New publication: Genome skims analysis of betel palms (Areca spp., Arecaceae) and development of a profiling method to assess their plastome diversity

Members of the Papuan Past Project published a study on July 15th 2021 in Gene. The study developed molecular markers to explore the geographic origin, diffusion and diversification of the betel nut (Areca catechu), which is a frequently and traditionally consumed nut in Papua New Guinea and in the Indo-Pacific region.

Continue reading “New publication: Genome skims analysis of betel palms (Areca spp., Arecaceae) and development of a profiling method to assess their plastome diversity”

New publication: Phenotypic differences between highlanders and lowlanders in Papua New Guinea

Members of the Papuan Past Project published a study on July 21st 202 in PLOS ONE which explores phenotypic differences in Papua New Guineans, and reveals for the first time sign of biological adaptations to altitude in Papua New Guinean highlanders.

Abstract

Altitude is one of the most demanding environmental pressures for human populations. Highlanders from Asia, America and Africa have been shown to exhibit different biological adaptations, but Oceanian populations remain understudied. We tested the hypothesis that highlanders phenotypically differ from lowlanders in Papua New Guinea, as a result of inhabiting the highest mountains in Oceania for at least 20,000 years.

We collected data for 13 different phenotypes related to altitude for 162 Papua New Guineans living at high altitude (Mont Wilhelm, 2,300-2,700 m above sea level (a.s.l.) and low altitude (Daru, < 100 m a.s.l.). Multilinear regressions were performed to detect differences between highlanders and lowlanders for phenotypic measurements related to body proportions, pulmonary function, and the circulatory system.

Six phenotypes were significantly different between Papua New Guinean highlanders and lowlanders. Highlanders show shorter height (p-value = 0.001), smaller waist circumference (p-value = 0.002), larger Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) (p-value = 0.008), larger maximal (p-value = 3.20e -4) and minimal chest depth (p-value = 2.37e -5) and higher haemoglobin concentration (p-value = 3.36e -4).

Our study reports specific phenotypes in Papua New Guinean highlanders potentially related to altitude adaptation. Similar to other human groups adapted to high altitude, the evolutionary history of Papua New Guineans appears to have also followed an adaptive biological strategy for altitude.

Reference

“Papua New Guineans show unique phenotypic traits at altitude”: talk at the 1st Virtual Conference for Women Archaeologists and Paleontologists

Monday 8 March 2021, Mathilde André presented a talk entitled “Papua New Guineans show unique phenotypic traits at altitude” at the First Virtual Conference for Women Archaeologists and Paleontologists organised by the TRACES laboratory for archaeology, in Toulouse (France).

Continue reading ““Papua New Guineans show unique phenotypic traits at altitude”: talk at the 1st Virtual Conference for Women Archaeologists and Paleontologists”