Asians share a common ancestry

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London, Dec 11 (ANI): A new study has revealed that all Asians share a common ancestry.

The findings were reported by the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) Pan-Asian SNP Consortium, which examines the single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), or variations at individual bases that form the genetic code.

"In Asia, we are all related.... It brings us closer together," Nature quoted Edison Liu, a lead author from the Genome Institute of Singapore, as saying.

Researchers in 11 countries and regions took samples from 73 population and reviewed variation at some 55,000 SNPs in 1928 individuals, for five years to come up with the findings.

They found that Negrito populations in Malaysia had significant level of genetic overlap with other populations of Southeast Asia, thus suggesting a common ancestry.

The study also discovered that East Asians have a high-level of genetic similarity with Southeast Asians but very little in common with central Asians, seeming to rule out a peopling of East Asia through a northern route via the Eurasian Steppes.

It was also seen that the genetic variation within local populations decreased on moving from southeast to northeast Asia.

Liu said: "This study was a milestone not only in the science that emerged, but the consortium that was formed. Ten Asian countries came together in the spirit of solidarity to understand how we were related as a people, and we finished with a truly Asian scientific community. We overcame shortage of funds and diverse operational constraints through partnerships, good will, and cultural sensitivity.

"Our next goal is to expand this collaboration to all of Asia including Central Asia and the Polynesian Islands."

Martin Richards, at the University of Leeds, UK, who led a 2005 study on mitochondrial DNA, said: "By and large, [the new study] is not surprising for fans of mitochondrial DNA, I think, but naturally it is very heart-warming."

The study has been published in the journal Science. (ANI)

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