News of the WeekAnthropology

Genetic Clues Revise View of Japanese Roots

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Science  05 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5407, pp. 1426-1427
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5407.1426

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A new theory on the origins of the Japanese people turns conventional wisdom on its head. University of Arizona anthropological geneticist Michael Hammer, using variations in the Y chromosome of 2500 men in 60 populations, has proposed new geographic origins for the Jomonese, a people who arrived 30,000 years ago and lived cut off from the Asian mainland for 10,000 years, and the Yayoi, who crossed the Korean Peninsula some 2300 years ago, bringing with them rice paddy agriculture and metal tools. But Hammer's explanation also requires some leaps of faith, say many anthropologists.