Open Access Preprint
We present the most comprehensive genetic characterization to date of five Fijian island populations: Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Kadavu, the Lau Islands, and Rotuma, including non-recombinant Y (NRY) chromosome and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes and haplogroups. As a whole, Fijians are genetically intermediate between Melanesians and Polynesians, but the individual Fijian island populations exhibit significant genetic structure reflecting different settlement experiences in which the Rotumans and the Lau Islanders were more influenced by Polynesians, and the other Fijian island populations were more influenced by Melanesians. In particular, Rotuman and Lau Islander NRY chromosomal and mtDNA haplogroup frequencies and Rotuman mtDNA hypervariable segment 1 (HVS1) region haplotypes more closely resemble those of Polynesians, while genetic markers of the other populations more closely resemble those of the Near Oceanic Melanesians. Our findings provide genetic evidence supportive of modifying regional boundaries relative to Fiji, as has been suggested by others based on a variety of non-genetic evidence. Specifically, for the traditional Melanesia/Polynesia/Micronesia scheme, our findings support moving the Melanesia-Polynesia boundary so as to include Rotuma and the Lau Islands in Polynesia. For the newer Near/Remote Oceania scheme, our findings support keeping Rotuma and the Lau Islands in Remote Oceania and locating the other Fijian island populations in an intermediate or “Central Oceania” region to better reflect the great diversity of Oceania.
Shipley, Gerhard P.; Taylor, Diana A.; N’Yeurt, Antoine D. R.; Tyagi, Anand; Tiwari, Geetanjali; and Redd, Alan J., "Genetic Evidence for Modifying Oceanic Boundaries Relative to Fiji" (2017). Human Biology Open Access Pre-Prints. 101.