Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science

First Advisor's Name

Rene J. Herrera

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Stephen Winkle

Third Advisor's Name

George Duncan

Date of Defense



Ascertaining the genetic relationships between Austronesian populations is pivotal to understanding their dispersal throughout the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The Austronesian expansion dates to approximately 6,000 years ago and from the linguistic and archeological evidence, the origin of this dispersal appears to be Taiwan. In this study, six polymorphic point mutation loci were studied in Taiwanese aborigines and compared with 32 other populations. The genetic relationships were characterized by maximum likelihood analysis, principal component maps, centroid gene flow plots, expected heterozygosities, power of discrimination values and pair wise G-tests. Following these analyses, it was apparent that genetic similarities existed between the Atayal and the Chinese, whereas the Ami displayed similarities with the Native Americans. Thus, the Atayal have little or no affinity for the Ami and other Austronesian populations. The large genetic differences between the two groups most likely arise from genetic isolation, and/or small population sizes.





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