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Brief Report

Origins of Polynesian Pigs Revealed by Mitochondrial Whole Genome Ancient DNA

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Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75205, USA
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School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
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Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
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Anthropology, School of Social Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
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Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
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Pacific Legacy, Inc., Kailua, HI 96734, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Juha Kantanen
Animals 2022, 12(18), 2469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12182469
Received: 19 August 2022 / Revised: 9 September 2022 / Accepted: 15 September 2022 / Published: 18 September 2022
Retracing the ancient human migration routes in the remote islands of the Pacific relies on robust models of the origins and spread of animals that were commensal to long-distance ocean voyages. Domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) in Polynesia belong to a rare mitochondrial DNA group whose geographic origins are disputed. We report new complete genome ancient DNA that suggests all founding populations of pigs in Polynesia, first settled by people about 2800–700 years ago, can be traced back to northern peninsular Southeast Asia.
Domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) were first transported to Polynesia through a series of long-distance voyages ultimately linked to the Neolithic expansion of Austronesian-speaking people out of Asia. The descendants of the founding pigs belong to a rare mtDNA group referred to as the “Pacific Clade” that may have originated in peninsular or island Southeast Asia. We report the first whole genome mtDNA from domestic pigs from any of the remote islands of the Pacific. In this brief report, we describe the close link we discovered between ancient mtDNA from archaeological specimens from across Polynesia and from that of modern pigs in northern peninsular Southeast Asia, specifically southern China’s Yunnan Province. More complete mtDNA coverage in commensal animals is necessary to improve our picture of the settlement of Polynesia (ca. 2800–700 years before the present) and specify the route, or routes, that pigs took from northern peninsular Southeast Asia. View Full-Text
Keywords: pig domestication; archaeology; ancient DNA; Polynesia; long-distance voyaging pig domestication; archaeology; ancient DNA; Polynesia; long-distance voyaging
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MDPI and ACS Style

Horsburgh, K.A.; Gosling, A.L.; Cochrane, E.E.; Kirch, P.V.; Swift, J.A.; McCoy, M.D. Origins of Polynesian Pigs Revealed by Mitochondrial Whole Genome Ancient DNA. Animals 2022, 12, 2469. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12182469

AMA Style

Horsburgh KA, Gosling AL, Cochrane EE, Kirch PV, Swift JA, McCoy MD. Origins of Polynesian Pigs Revealed by Mitochondrial Whole Genome Ancient DNA. Animals. 2022; 12(18):2469. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12182469

Chicago/Turabian Style

Horsburgh, K. Ann, Anna L. Gosling, Ethan E. Cochrane, Patrick V. Kirch, Jillian A. Swift, and Mark D. McCoy. 2022. "Origins of Polynesian Pigs Revealed by Mitochondrial Whole Genome Ancient DNA" Animals 12, no. 18: 2469. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12182469

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