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Paternal Austronesian Expansion Example

Out of Taiwan Model

A Work In Progress by Herbert Holeman, PhD.

Draft Workpaper Posted.

For discussion purposes, my DNA tests and findings are used as examples.

• Ancient peoples from southern China are most closely related to modern-day Southeast Asians and show an affinity to modern-day Austronesian populations.

• My ancestry is 41% ethnic Chinese, mostly Taiwanese Gaoshan Amis and Atayal people, according to the estimates of the Wegene and DNALand companies.

• My paternal admixture serves as an example of the Out of Taiwan Southeast Asia Austronesian expansion. The Philippines Visayas and parts of Mindanao share an almost pure population composition, very close to the modern Taiwanese South Island Gaoshan people such as the Amis and Atayal

• My paternal ancestry is based on the geographical coordinates of surveyed populations.


A study paper published in July 2020, A Genetic History of China reported: "ancient individuals from southern China as being most closely related to modern-day Southeast Asians and show an affinity to modern-day Austronesian populations."

Studies suggest by ~7,000 years ago a viable cultural mileu of fisherman-farmers existed on the south coast of China and in the waters in the Straits of Taiwan from boats with hooks and nets. Around 5,000 years ago these fishermen-farmers crossed the 92 miles of the Straits and settled on Taiwan.

4,339 years ago

With the emergence of an AM01750 ancestor, analysis by the Wegene Company extends the southern migration mainland pattern of my markers to the island of Taiwan. It is consistent with the early inhabitants in Taiwan being proto-Austronesian and the current Taiwanese aborigines being their descendants.

This finding is based on the WeGene company extensive Asian reference population database. Its analytical algorithm uses machine learning based on the admixture ancestor analysis tool developed by the University of California (UCLA) in Los Angeles. The algorithm compares the tested person's autosomal DNA information with that of reference populations in their database and quantifies the similarities.

WeGene's admixture findings in Table 9 matched my DNA with that of populations now living in the geographical area of present-day Taiwan and those living in the Southern Han population some 81 miles across the Taiwan Straits in mainland Fujian. Razid Kann writes, "Fujian seem most similar to Austronesians. Today no one from these regions is "pure" southern. Rather, they are a mix. The Austronesians migrated out early enough that they carry southern East Asian ancestry exclusively."

Table 9
Map Coordinates Wegene Company

As reported in Table 9, my ancestry is ethnic Chinese most of wish is from the indigenous Amis and Atayal people and a bit less from Southern Han, which is dominant in Taiwan. Estimates are that about 85% of Taiwanese people might have some indigenous tribes' genetic markers.

Figure 21
My Paternal Marker Migration
WeGene Company

Similarly, my admixture from anaysis by the DNALand Company in Figure 22 reports 21% Taiwanese ancestry. Of my 44% East Asian ancesty, 37% is Southeast Asian. Austronesian ancestry predominates paternal lineages of Taiwan’s indigenous Amis/Atayal highland-dwelling aborigines. They are also linguistically related to the Austronesian-speaking ethnic groups of the Philippines and, more broadly, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia islanders. Yet, in other areas of Asia and Oceana, the marker is no more than 4%.

Figure 22
My Asian Ancestry Admixture
DNALand Company Analysis

For several millennia DNA gene flow would occur to Taiwan and from there to the Southeast Asia islands. Today, Taiwan's southern tip is ~97 miles from the Batanes Province, of the Philippines, and within easy reach of Malaysia to the south.

Within the last 10,000 years, migrations have occurred to Taiwan and between Taiwan and the Visayas in the southernmost islands of Luzon and the northern and eastern coastal parts of Mindanao in the Philippines. For example, a modern-day study sample of the Philippines reveals that as recent as 1900, an almost pure population composition, very close to the modern Taiwanese South Island Gaoshan people such as the Amis and Atayal.

According to Peter Bellwood, the original Pleistocene Hoabinhian hunter-gatherers occupied Southeast Asia until ~5,000 or so years ago, when mid-Holocene Neolithic farmers migrated from the southern China mainland to the islands of Southeast Asia.

Figure 23 refers to an out of Taiwan a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of early Austronesians arriving in Taiwan ~6,000 years ago and leaving Taiwan ~4,000 years ago, perhaps island hopping, to northern Luzon in the Philippines and venturing on to spread throughout Island Southeast Asia.

Figure 23
Taiwan Movement
O-F706 O-A16139

The archaeological record from the Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon shows they brought with them the same set of stone tools and pottery they had in Taiwan and the Austronesian language. The descendants of this group spread their language and culture through the Indo-Malayan archipelago west and east into the central Pacific Ocean. In particular, Figure 24 infers such a phylogenetic flow of my markers.

Figure 24
My Genetic Markers
by YFull Y Chart 16 January 2020

These markers refer back to having originated in geographical locations in present day mainland China and lend support to Harvard Scientist, Mark Lipson, findings of a genetic tracer dye for the Austronesian expansion ancestry present in peoples who today speak Austronesian languages. To quote a recent study, which supports the out of Tawain theory: The origin of Austronesian has always been a controversial subject in linguistics and other related fields. The Express Train Hypothesis, a well accepted linguistic theory on the origin of Austronesian postulates that proto-Austronesians originated in Taiwan and began to expand southward about 5,000-6,000 years ago by way of the Philippines and Eastern Indonesia. Moreover Lipson finds nearly all people who speak such languages have some ancestry closer to aboriginal Taiwanese than to mainland East Asian population. They are speakers of an Austronesian language closely related to the Tai-Kadai language family that is the dominant language group today in Laos, Thailand and the north and east of Burma. Once established on Taiwan, the Austronesian speaking fishermen-farmers had quickly embarked on extensive colonizations in human history known as the Austronesian expansion. In addition to linguistics, this scenario is supported by Taiwan Y-chromosomal DNA variation and its relationship with Island Southeast Asia.

~3,654 years ago

My ancestor with the O-A16139 marker (Figure 25) emerged, which is associated with Austronesian ancestry. It can be viewed in the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG), haplogroup O chart of 18 April 2020 and by the YFull chart timeline

However, the chart in Figure 25 is based on the results of my FTDNA Company NGS test (Big-Y). With a 95% level of confidence, it puts the origin of a O-A16139 subclade common ancestor ( also known as O-A16427) to be as recent as ~2,700 years ago.

Figure 25
My Genetic Marker O-A16139
by YFull Y Chart 16 January 2020

Admixture mapping with such markers depicts the peopling of the islands of Southeast (ISEA) and reveals the genetic affinities between the indigenous Taiwanese and the ISEA Austronesian populations.

Figure 26
Out of Taiwan Migration
Pattern of Austronesian Expansion
Austronesia Map

Yet, to that point, in January 2020, the 23andMe Company published the report What is Austronesian ancestry by Samantha Ancona Esselmann, Ph.D. She says "we were missing a big part of the human migration story." Test takers with little or no "Filipino" ancestry but designated as such, reached an average of 75 percent in customers from other island locations, as shown in Figure 27. These locations include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and even the southern mainland.

Figure 27
Out of Taiwan
Austronesian Expansion

Copyright © 2018 Herbert P. Holeman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.