Genetics and Biology of Japnanese People

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Genetics and Biology of Japnanese People

 

As in the case of pottery and other artifacts, DNA, skeletal, and dental features show a population cline: that is Korean traits are most prominent in Kyushu, the closest site to Korea and they taper off further south and north.

This cline is also seen in Japanese dogs and field mice. (Riley 2002) Studies on canine breeds in Japan show that one breed came from Southeast Asia some 10,000 - 12,000 years ago and that a second breed came from Korea 1,700 - 2,300 years from the Korean peninsula. Mitochondria1 DNA data from wild mice show the same distribution with dogs.

Skeletons of Jomon and Yayoi people have been examined and detailed DNA studies have been made in recent years. Most Jomon and Yayoi skeletons are readily distinguishable. The Jomon people were shorter, with relatively longer forearms and lower legs, more wide-set eyes, shorter and wider faces, and much more pronounced facial topography, with strikingly raised browridges, noses, and nose bridges, while the Yayoi people averaged an inch or two taller, with close-set eyes, high and narrow faces, and flat browridges and noses. (Diamond 1998)

Studies of teeth show two distinct patterns - Sundadonty and Sinodonty. The former represents Southeast Asians, Micronesians, and Polynesiansn and the latter Koreans and Manchus. The former is preeminent among pure-blood Ainu and Okinawans. The teeth evidence supports the thesis that "ancient demic diffusion commencing with the Yayoi era at about 300 B.C. when an immigrant population from continental Asia entered the archipelago in north Kyushu and expanded eastward, assimilating the aboriginal inhabitants". (Riley 2002)

 

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