Team Decodes Whole Genome of Woman in Japan's Jomon Period

Society Science Technology

Tokyo, May 13 (Jiji Press)--A research team led by the National Museum of Nature and Science said Monday it has sequenced and analyzed with high accuracy the whole genome of a woman who lived about 3,500 to 3,800 years ago, in the second half of Japan's Jomon period.

Hideaki Kanzawa, a researcher at the museum, Naruya Saito, professor at the National Institute of Genetics, and other members of the group sampled DNA from molars discovered with pieces of a female skull bone at the Funadomari site on Rebun Island in Hokkaido, northernmost Japan.

The results of the genome analysis, which was almost as accurate as such analysis for modern people thanks to the well-preserved DNA, suggest that a common ancestor diverged into the Jomon people and Han Chinese about 18,000 to 38,000 years ago, the researchers said.

The analysis also found that the Jomons are genetically close to groups in East Asian coastal areas from Russian Far East through the Korean Peninsula, including indigenous Taiwanese people, and were gathering in a relatively small population group and living by hunting.

Among other discoveries are that the Jomon woman had brown eyes and thin hair as well as high alcohol tolerance, and was genetically adapted to a high-fat diet. At the Funadomari site, many sea lion bones have been dug up.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press