The Peopling of the Pacific from a Bacterial Perspective

Yuben Moodley, B. Linz, Y. Yamaoka, Helen Windsor, S. Breurec, J-Y. Wu, A. Maady, S. Bernhoft, J-M. Thiberge, S. Phuanukoonon, G. Jobb, P. Siba, D.Y. Graham, Barry Marshall, M. Achtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

225 Citations (Scopus)


Two prehistoric migrations peopled the Pacific. One reached New Guinea and Australia, and a second, more recent, migration extended through Melanesia and from there to the Polynesian islands. These migrations were accompanied by two distinct populations of the specific human pathogen Helicobacter pylori, called hpSahul and hspMaori, respectively. hpSahul split from Asian populations of H. pylori 31,000 to 37,000 years ago, in concordance with archaeological history. The hpSahul populations in New Guinea and Australia have diverged sufficiently to indicate that they have remained isolated for the past 23,000 to 32,000 years. The second human expansion from Taiwan 5000 years ago dispersed one of several subgroups of the Austronesian language family along with one of several hspMaori clades into Melanesia and Polynesia, where both language and parasite have continued to diverge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-530
Issue number5913
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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