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Genetics Section

Larsen, Anna [1].

The geographic distribution of genetic variants of the Candlenut tree (Aleurites moluccana (L.) Willd., Euphorbiaceae) as an indication of prehistoric human migration routes in Polynesia.

The human colonization of Oceania occurred within the last 4,000 years, making this region the last frontier of human settlement. Archaeological and linguistic reconstructions of human prehistory have advanced dramatically in the last fifty years yet much remains in question about the model of colonization of Oceania and the sequence of colonization of the Eastern Polynesian islands. Genetic variation in human-dispersed plants provides an additional source of data for determining the order of human settlement on Oceanic archipelagoes. Because of its ethnobotanical importance, the Candlenut tree (Aleurites moluccana) was dispersed through the Pacific Islands by the ancestors of the Polynesians during the colonization era. As a result, the intraspecific genetic variation should exhibit a signature of the prehistoric colonization route. Preliminary DNA sequence data from the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) nuclear gene family suggest moderate levels of allelic variation in Western Polynesia and the attenuation of diversity further east. I will present results about the genetic structure and the molecular evolution of GAPDH in the Candlenut tree and the implications for Polynesian prehistory.

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1 - University of California Berkeley, Department Integrative Biology, 3060 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, California, 94720-3140, USA

Aleurites moluccana
glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase
population structure
Polynesian prehistory.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 1-4
Location: 412/Hilton
Date: Monday, August 15th, 2005
Time: 8:45 AM
Abstract ID:201

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