The Colonization of Northern Sahul Explored Through New Guinean Genomes

François-Xavier Ricaut1, Nicolas Brucato1, Nicole Pedro2, Jason Kariwiga3,4, Mathilde Andre5, Kylie Sesuki4, Monika Karmin5, Teppsy Beni4, Christopher Kinipi6, Murray P. Cox7, John Muke8, Matthew Leavesley4,9,10

1Laboratoire Évolution et Diversité Biologique (EDB UMR 5174), Université de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, France

2Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Universidade do Porto (i3S), Portugal

3School of Social Science, University of Queensland, Australia

4Strand of Anthropology, Sociology and Archaeology, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea

5Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu, Estonia

6Medical Clinic, University of Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea

7School of Natural Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

8Social Research Institute, Papua New Guinea

9College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, Australia

10ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, University of Wollongong, Australia

Around 60,000 years ago (kya), modern humans crossed the Wallacea region and colonized the Sahul landmass (present-day New Guinea and Australia). Today, the New Guinean population from northern Sahul represents one of the oldest locally continuous populations outside Africa, and harbors among the greatest linguistic and genetic diversity worldwide. However, there is currently no model reconstructing their past population dynamics, the routes of migrations into northern Sahul, the subsequent dispersal in this region, the timing of these events or the number of first colonists involved. These questions are central to archaeological research in this region, but the archaeological evidence is too scattered to propose detailed models of colonisation. Recent genomic data has resulted in a more fine-grained analysis and more detailed models reconstructing past population dynamics in northern Sahul. In this presentation, I will discuss the phylogenetic and phylogeographic history of northern Sahul genetic lineages and the scenario of the initial migration and dispersal into northern Sahul, using data from three different genetic markers - maternal (complete mitochondrial genome) and paternal (whole Y chromosome genome) markers, and autosomal whole genome sequences.