Papuan people are the various indigenous peoples of New Guinea and neighbouring islands, speakers of the Papuan languages. They are often distinguished ethnically and linguistically from Austronesians, speakers of a language family introduced into New Guinea about 3,000 years ago.
In a 2005 study of ASPM gene variants, Mekel-Bobrov et al. found that the Papuan people have among the highest rate of the newly evolved ASPM haplogroup D, at 59.4% occurrence of the approximately 6,000-year-old allele. While it is not yet known exactly what selective advantage is provided by this gene variant, the haplogroup D allele is thought to be positively selected in populations and to confer some substantial advantage that has caused its frequency to rapidly increase.
|Papuan (Papua New Guinea) Reference Population|
|Eastern Asia||Southeast Asia & Oceania||Southern Asia|
|"This reference population is based on people native to the highlands and lowlands of Papua New Guinea. In addition to the Oceania/Southeast Asia component that defines this population and others in the Melanesian region, the small East Asian component was likely introduced over the past several thousand years by the seafaring Austronesians, who hailed from Southeast Asia. These were the ancestors of the Polynesians, who settled on the northern coast of New Guinea before heading out into the open waters of the Pacific."|
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