Post by Peter Jason
On Tue, 10 Apr 2018 20:51:20 -0700 (PDT), Louis Rawnsley
Post by Louis Rawnsley Post by Eric Stevens Post by email@example.com
The idea that New Zealand Maori had DNA links back to Taiwan originated with a 1998 study out of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. The research group led by Geoffrey Chambers claimed to have identified a gene for alcohol tolerance that both Maori and indigenous Taiwanese shared. The basic mistake the researchers from Victoria University made was to base their study on mtDNA only.
In the year 2000 the University of Texas Health Science Centre released the results of a comprehensive study which utilised the Y chromosomes of 551 men from across the Pacific and Southeast Asia which led the eleven member research team headed by geneticist Bing Su to conclude that "The findings do not support the current theory that ancestral Polynesians began their movement out into the Pacific from Taiwan or the Southwestern Islands of Melanesia."
In a surprisingly frank rebuttal of the Victoria University study, Li Jin, one of the geneticists who participated in the University of Texas study, said: "We have trashed this idea for a Taiwanese homeland completely."
OK. What comes next?
What came next Eric was that the Texas University study was reported in the NZ Herald on 19th July 2000 and quoted Victoria University anthropology lecturer Dr Nancy Pollock who said: "The new study meant existing theories would be revised."
She wasn't wrong. Two years later Geoffrey Chambers came up with a revised theory that must qualify as one of the most bizarre in over two centuries of research into the origins of the Polynesian race. This new revised theory claimed that the original party that had set out from Taiwan was composed mostly, or entirely of women and after reaching the coast of Papua New Guinea had teamed up with a group of Melanesian men and so the Polynesian race as we know it was born.
Gee, when I proposed a theory explaining the origins of birds and
avian flight, namely by the accidental mating of a dragonfly and a
lizard, and I wanted to publish this, I was laughed off the planet!
It wasn't exactly laughed off the planet but it was clearly greeted with some scepticism. During an interview with Geoffrey Chambers in a radio broadcast on the 27th of April, 2002, on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 'Science Show' the host, Robyn Williams, queried Chambers as follows: "Are you suggesting that the men and women came from different places, that surely is impossible?" Geoff Chambers responded: "It sounds intriguing doesn't it... the female genetic lineages... all trace back to Southeast Asia. The male lineages on the other hand seem to be sourced from Melanesia or from Papua New Guinea... for instance males may have been recruited as navigators."
Robyn Williams: "That's the most extraordinary result; what about these other results you've had? Tell me about these alcohol genes; are they extensive, is it one gene, two genes, three genes or what?"
Geoff Chambers: We're talking about a two gene system that's produced the enzymes that allow the body to respond to alcohol. Now many oriental people have a particular combination of types of enzymes which make them very sensitive to alcohol. So what we set out to do was to look for these variants in New Zealand Maori and Polynesian people, because we expected them to be found if they had oriental ancestors, and we found one of these systems but not the other one, so here's another apparently enigmatic result which one would think was impossible... so we think that the detoxification protection has been lost during the island hopping migration."
p.s. I wouldn't give up with your dragonfly/lizard theory just yet Peter!