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Y-DNA Austronesian Expansion

Out of Taiwan Model

A Work In Progress by Herbert Holeman, PhD.

This draft workpaper was last modified .

Findings to date

• Ancient peoples from southern China are most closely related to modern-day Southeast Asians and show an affinity to modern-day Austronesian populations.

• My paternal admixture serves as an example of the Out of Taiwan Southeast Asia Austronesian expansion.

• My ancestry is 41% ethnic Chinese (mostly Taiwanese) according to the estimates of the Wegene and DNALand companies.

• My paternal ancestry is based on the geographical coordinates of surveyed populations.


~12,200 years ago the markerO-F706, also known as F1903, emerged. This marker covers a wide swath of Southeast Asia, as confirmed by FTDNA and other reference populations and sampling groups in the countries of Cambodia, China, and the Philippines.

A study paper published in July 2020, A Genetic History of China reported: "ancient individuals from southern China as most closely related to modern-day Southeast Asians and show an affinity to modern-day Austronesian populations.”

From my test results, the WeGene company placed my father-line ancestry markers in southern mainland China and the island of Taiwan. This placement goes with the belief the early inhabitants in Taiwan. They spoke Austronesian languages, which they spread across the islands of the Pacific. The current Taiwanese aborigines are thought to be their descendants.

WeGene's admixture findings in Table 9 matched my DNA with that of populations now living in the geographical area of present-day Taiwan and those living in the Southern Han population some 81 miles across the Taiwan Straits in mainland Fujian. Razid Kann writes, "Fujian seem most similar to Austronesians. Today no one from these regions is "pure" southern. Rather, they are a mix. The Austronesians migrated out early enough that they carry southern East Asian ancestry exclusively."

Table 9
Map Coordinates Wegene Company

As reported in Table 9, my ancestry is ethnic Chinese most of wish is from the indigenous Amis and Atayal people and a bit less from Southern Han, which is dominant in Taiwan. Estimates are that about 85% of Taiwanese people might have some indigenous tribes' genetic markers.

Figure 23
My Paternal Marker Migration
WeGene Company

Large scale Chinese Han migration into Taiwan began in the 17th century and the Han presently constitutes more than 90% of China's population and 20% of the global population as discussed in this video.

Figure 24
My Asian Ancestry Admixture
DNALand Company Analysis

Similarly, my admixture in Figure 24 reports 21% Taiwanese ancestry. Of my 44% East Asian ancesty, 37% is Southeast Asian. Austronesian ancestry predominates paternal lineages of Taiwan’s indigenous Amis/Atayal highland-dwelling aborigines. They are also linguistically related to the Austronesian-speaking ethnic groups of the Philippines and, more broadly, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia islanders. Yet, in other areas of Asia and Oceana, the marker is no more than 4%.

Taiwan itself during the period of my genetic ancestors was part of the mainland of present-day China until it sank below the sea ~10,000 years ago. The theory is the Taiwan's Gaoshan indigenous people originated from one branch of the ancient Yue ethnic group living during the Stone Age along the eastern edge of the mainland connected to Taiwan and the then continent of Sundaland. For several millennia DNA gene flow would occur to Taiwan and from there to the Southeast Asia islands. Today, Taiwan’s southern tip is ~97 miles from the Batanes Province, of the Philippines, and within easy reach of Malaysia to the south. Over time, farming-voyaging immigrants have migrated south and to the Japanese Yaeyama islands 160 miles to the north. On clear days, the silhouette of Taiwan in the distance is visible from Yaeyama.

Similarly, migrations have occurred to Taiwan from other neighboring islands. Just 500 miles across the water, such migrations have happened within the last 10,000 years from the Visayas in the southernmost islands of Luzon and the northern and eastern coastal parts of Mindanao in the Philippines. For example, a modern-day study sample of the Philippines reveals that as recent as 1900, an almost pure population composition, very close to the modern Taiwanese South Island Gaoshan people such as the Amis and Atayal.

Each marker is identified by Moreover, the WeGene company in China has an extensive Asian reference population database. Its analytical algorithm uses machine learning based on the admixture ancestor analysis tool developed by the University of California (UCLA) in Los Angeles. The algorithm compares the tested person’s autosomal DNA information with that of reference populations in their database and quantifies the similarities.

Figure 25
My Genetic Markers
by YFull Y Chart 16 January 2020

These markers refer back to having originated in geographical locations in present day mainland China and lend support to Harvard Scientist, Mark Lipson, findings of a genetic tracer dye for the Austronesian expansion ancestry present in peoples who today speak Austronesian languages. To quote a recent study, which supports the out of Tawain theory: The origin of Austronesian has always been a controversial subject in linguistics and other related fields. The Express Train Hypothesis, a well accepted linguistic theory on the origin of Austronesian postulates that proto-Austronesians originated in Taiwan and began to expand southward about 5,000–6,000 years ago by way of the Philippines and Eastern Indonesia. Moreover Lipson finds nearly all people who speak such languages have some ancestry closer to aboriginal Taiwanese than to mainland East Asian population.

Studies suggest by ~7,000 years ago a viable cultural mileu of fisherman-farmers existed on the south coast of China and in the waters in the Straits of Taiwan from boats with hooks and nets. Around 5,000 years ago these fishermen-farmers crossed the 92 miles of the Straits and settled on Taiwan. They were not the Sino-Tibetan speaking Han Chinese but speakers of an Austronesian language closely related to the Tai-Kadai language family that is the dominant language group today in Laos, Thailand and the north and east of Burma. Once established on Taiwan, the Austronesian speaking fishermen-farmers quickly embarked on extensive colonizations in human history known as the Austronesian expansion. In addition to linguistics, this scenario is supported by Taiwan Y-chromosomal DNA variation and its relationship with Island Southeast Asia.

Figure 26
Out of Taiwan
Austronesian Expansion

Figure 27 refers to an out of Taiwan a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of early Austronesians arriving in Taiwan ~6,000 years ago and leaving Taiwan ~4,000 years ago, perhaps island hopping, to northern Luzon in the Philippines and venturing on to spread throughout Island Southeast Asia.

Figure 27
Taiwan Movement
O-F706 O-A16139

The archaeological record from the Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon shows they brought with them the same set of stone tools and pottery they had in Taiwan. The descendants of this group spread their language and culture through the Indo-Malayan archipelago west and east into the central Pacific Ocean.

Likely, this scenario could apply to my O-A16139 ancestor ~4,800 years ago and more recently to those who live in the present millennium. Documentation for these markers can be viewed in the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG), haplogroup O chart of 18 April 2020 and by the YFull chart timeline in Figure 28.

Figure 28
My Genetic Marker O-A16139
by YFull Y Chart 16 January 2020

The chart in Figure 28 is based on the results of my FTDNA Big-Y test. With a 95% level of confidence, it puts a presence of my O-A16139 anacestor to be as recent as ~2,700 years ago.

Studies have learned the role of that marker in peopling of the islands of Southeast (ISEA). Through through analyses of mtDNA and Y-DNA genetic affinities exist between the indigenous Taiwanese and the ISEA populations,

To that point, in January 2020, published the report What is Austronesian ancestry by Samantha Ancona Esselmann, Ph.D. She says "we were missing a big part of the human migration story." Test takers with little or no “Filipino” ancestry but designated as such, reached an average of 75 percent in customers from other island locations, as shown in Figure 29. These locations include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and even the southern mainland.

Figure 29
Out of Taiwan Migration
Pattern of Austronesian Expansion
Austronesia Map

Copyright © 2018 Herbert P. Holeman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.