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DNA and Evolution: Where Did We Come From? Where Did We Go? | SoundVision Productions Presents The DNA Files
PROFESSOR REBECCA CANN: The resounding answer from human genetics is no, Polynesians do not come from South America.
They most assuredly come from probably some part of Southeast Asia. JOHN RIEGER: In the early 1980s Professor Rebecca Cann a molecular biologist at the University of Hawaii began studying a rare genetic mutation, a tiny fragment of DNA that seems to appear in people of Southeast Asian heritage no matter where they live today. REBECCA CANN: Then when I began working in the Pacific uh we discovered that they were a very high frequency of Tahitians, of Marquesans, of Easter Islanders, of Hawaiians, of Cook Islanders. In order to figure that out, Cann turned her attention to another bit of DNA known to be hyper variable. This DNA mutates so frequently that each new settlement established during some ancient migration would have its own genetic signature. But to decide which mutations and which settlements came first, Cann would have to look several thousand years into the genetic past. REBECCA CANN: You try to reconstruct what were the ancestral mutations and which are new ones which have appeared in a certain period of time and are restricted geographically, or ethnically or culturally in some way. REBECCA CANN: Horticulturists have DNA sequences from the sweet potatoes and they can actually identify that the cultivar is the same germ plasm. Rebecca Cann. REBECCA CANN: We say as geneticists this is likely but the people who actually attempt to reconstruct how it's done, they...they are showing us what it might have been to actually experience it historically.
Mitochondrion - New World Encyclopedia
In 1987, Rebecca Cann of the University of Hawaii compared mitochondrial DNA sampled from women whose ancestors came from different parts of the world.
Cann, R. L., M. Stoneking, and A. C. Wilson.
Laura Lee News - A Little Neanderthal in All of Us
In a separate review in Nature, Rebecca L. Cann, a molecular biologist at the University of Hawaii, suggested Templeton was "overambitious in the scale of his analysis" and perhaps too eager to contribute to the contentious evolutionary debate.
In her rebuttal, Cann said the new model needs to be independently verified, and its conclusions compared with existing evidence on human origins from archeology, linguistics and other scientific disciplines. "Perhaps we will need a demonstration that GEODIS reveals the composite picture before we can settle on how to interpret the varied signals uncovered by Templeton's analysis on a global scale," she said.
Rebecca Cann, Assistant Professor of Genetics at the University of Hawaii, coauthored a study in 1987 in the journal Nature suggesting that all modern humans are descended from a single mother who lived in Africa about 200,000 BC.
The connection, she said, was through the mitochondrial DNA, which passes down through the female.
AULIS Online â€“ Different Thinking
"There are regions of the world, like the Middle East and Portugal, where some fossils look as if they could have been some kind of mix between archaic and modern people," said Rebecca Cann, a geneticist at the University of Hawaii.
"The question is," she said, "if there was mixing, did some archaic genetic lineages enter the modern human gene pool? Cann, in an accompanying article in Nature, said Templeton's attempt to view the data from a global perspective is over-ambitious given problems with genetic studies of small-scale modern populations. "I want to see [his methodology and analysis] validated in an area of the world where a variety of scientists from different disciplines think they understand how humans spread and when," she said. Examples of human migration that might help demonstrate the validity of Templeton's analysis and its limitations, she suggested, include the relatively recent expansion to Polynesia, the spread of farmers from Turkey into Northern Europe, and the migration of Vikings to Iceland. "We need lots of different tools to study human evolution," Cann pointed out.