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舒淇“Seek knowledge even in China”

– Muhammad

One out of five people in the world today are of the Han ethnicity. Colloquially known as Chinese. Like the West China has a long history, and its development can be traced, more or less, over the past 3,000 years. Because of the history of a system of taxation coordinated from the center we also know about aspects of its demographic expansion as a social, cultural, and biological entity from the North China plain south toward the edges of Southeast Asia (e.g., between the Tang and Song there was a shift in taxation from the northern provinces to the southern ones because of demographics). The Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China documents the movement out of the north, and eventually the shift of the center of Chinese civilization at an equipoise between the subtropical rice consuming south threading arable sections around rugged panoramas, and the old north, where a continental temperate climate characterized fields of millet and wheat and an open landscape. These environmentally contingent models of economic and agricultural production have even been used to infer broader social-cultural patterns which characterize Chinese civilization, such a recent paper in Science, Large-Scale Psychological Differences Within China Explained by Rice Versus Wheat Agriculture.

history-of-china But when you are focused on the genetic origins and distribution of Chinese populations, the answers are a bit different from the cultural history. In History and Geography of Human Genes L. L. Cavalli-Sforza reported that North and South Chinese were genetically very distinct; with the northern populations being closer to northern Northeast Asians and the southern ones closer to Southeast Asians than either were to each other. He was wrong. Genome-wide analyses make it clear that Chinese populations exhibit relatively little intra-ethnic variation, though the southern groups are closer to Southeast Asians, in particular Tai and Vietnamese, and the northern Chinese are similar to Koreans and other Northeast Asians.

To get a sense of this, I plotted some East Asian HGDP groups with 1000 Genome Chinese on Pcaso. You can manipulate and examine the PCs yourself. What you see is that Southern Chinese are very distinct from the HGDP samples from northern China. The individuals from Beijing span the whole range of Han variation, probably because Beijing is a cosmopolitan city. Across PC 1 the South Chinese are clearly positioned between the North Chinese and Tai and Vietnamese. Fromm this can we conclude that the South Chinese emerge from an admixture event between migrants from the north and indigenous peoples? Not necessarily. Or at least there may be more to the story than a PCA can tell us.

china I ran TreeMix 10 times, and the graph to the left is pretty representative (I rooted with Cambodia and removed some of the groups you can see in the PC). You can view all the other plots in Dropbox. These graphs do seem to suggest that the South Chinese population has received substantial admixture from an indigenous Southeast Asian population. What I’m curious about though is the relationship of central Chinese ethnic minorities like the She people to the Han majority. On the PC plots the She and Southern Chinese are basically in the same position. But not so in TreeMix, where the long branch out toward the She tip indicates some sort of bottleneck or lower effective population. In addition, the Southern Chinese are near the She, but the gene flow is moving from a Tai or Vietnamese group on TreeMix. Why?

One model which we can’t necessarily reject at this point without further investigation is that like the Hui the ethnic minorities across China resemble nearby Han because of gene flow form the Han. Another model is that the Han absorbed in totality indigenous groups very different from the ones which were, and are, resident in the rugged hinterlands, and are today national minorities. Finally, there is the possibility that the North Chinese themselves are complex mixes due to intrusion of Turkic groups between the Han and Sui-Tang, and later back-migration from Central China as the empire expanded in comparison to barbarian groups.

Finally, the genetic homogeneity of Han and many of their national minorities (the Fst values are invariably small) suggests to me that all underwent agricultural expansion during the Holocene, but there was a second stage where the proto-Han marginalized the other groups to become so numerically preponderant. This explains the recent coalescence of ancestries across many of these populations, and the weak genetic differentiation between the Han and minorities.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity, Science • Tags: China, Genetics 
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  1. I would wager that Shu Qi, born in Taiwan, has aboriginal DNA to thank for her unique looks.

    • Replies: @John Massey
    I'd take that wager.
    , @dux.ie
    Your so called 'unique looks' are common in certain part of mainland China known as the 'Jiangnam beauty' (or Gangnam in local language) famous since the Tang Dynasty
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiangnan_Circuit

    Most Taiwanese are originally from Fujian. Here is a photo of the Fujian division of a beauty contest http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/event1454.html

    Most westerners are more familiar with the Cantonese looks.
  2. Re: the long branches of Chinese minorities, there seem some fairly significant large differences in FST from African outgroups between Chinese minorities and Han:

    http://www.cell.com/cms/attachment/2024885076/2044551139/mmc1.pdf

    Particularly Lahus in the table above, also She and Miaozu. IIUC, that should happen most likely due to differences in genetic drift / isolation between the different East Asian subgroups.

    So I suspect some of the position on treemix may be due to isolation. A PCA which is looking for systematic differences between an East Asian set won’t find that in the same way.

    That’s not so true for the Naxi or Yizu who are also distant in the treemix plot, though.

    Suggests it might be worth using outroup D or f4 stats, like D(Outgroup,Test)(Outgroup2,Reference Pop) or D(African / Non-Asian Outgroup,Test)(Han,Other East Asian) to check what is happening neutrally of high or low levels of drift in any subgroups.

    • Replies: @Shaikorth
    Don't have D-stats but I did find allele sharing distances which like D-stats should not be too shaken by recent drift. This comparison is with Mbuti Pygmies and comes from Behar et al 2010, read it like inverse IBS - lower means closer.

    Cambodian 0.28739
    Yizu 0.28813
    Han 0.28847
    Hezhen 0.28868
    Miaozu 0.28887
    Lahu 0.28893
    She 0.28898


    Sindhi 0.28636
    Hazara 0.28756

    Druze 0.28874

    Chuvash 0.29083
    Tuscans 0.29089
    Hungarians 0.29216
    French 0.29220
    Belorussians 0.29240
    Orcadians 0.29308

  3. Do North and South Chinese have different drinking habits due to a greater ability to process alcohol in the North?

    • Replies: @John Massey
    The clip is a spoof, not science. Anecdotally, observationally, I have noticed no such clear cut differences. In terms of alcohol response, I've seen kamikaze drinkers (both men and women) in both north and south, and a minority of people in both north and south who just can't take alcohol at all without feeling really sick. Likewise general behaviour - Cantonese women can be really fierce.
  4. On the other hand, the She are linguistically almost completely sinified. Their traditional language is rather close to that of the Hakka.

  5. @Matt_
    Re: the long branches of Chinese minorities, there seem some fairly significant large differences in FST from African outgroups between Chinese minorities and Han:

    http://www.cell.com/cms/attachment/2024885076/2044551139/mmc1.pdf

    Particularly Lahus in the table above, also She and Miaozu. IIUC, that should happen most likely due to differences in genetic drift / isolation between the different East Asian subgroups.

    So I suspect some of the position on treemix may be due to isolation. A PCA which is looking for systematic differences between an East Asian set won't find that in the same way.

    That's not so true for the Naxi or Yizu who are also distant in the treemix plot, though.

    Suggests it might be worth using outroup D or f4 stats, like D(Outgroup,Test)(Outgroup2,Reference Pop) or D(African / Non-Asian Outgroup,Test)(Han,Other East Asian) to check what is happening neutrally of high or low levels of drift in any subgroups.

    Don’t have D-stats but I did find allele sharing distances which like D-stats should not be too shaken by recent drift. This comparison is with Mbuti Pygmies and comes from Behar et al 2010, read it like inverse IBS – lower means closer.

    Cambodian 0.28739
    Yizu 0.28813
    Han 0.28847
    Hezhen 0.28868
    Miaozu 0.28887
    Lahu 0.28893
    She 0.28898

    Sindhi 0.28636
    Hazara 0.28756

    Druze 0.28874

    Chuvash 0.29083
    Tuscans 0.29089
    Hungarians 0.29216
    French 0.29220
    Belorussians 0.29240
    Orcadians 0.29308

    • Replies: @Shaikorth
    Relation of Chinese minority populations to Han doesn't precisely correlate with their distance from Mbuti, though the differences are small:

    She 0.20774
    Miaozu 0.20814
    Yizu 0.20976
    Hezhen 0.21079
    Lahu 0.21132

    Cambodian 0.21381

  6. I think there have been claims that the first rice agriculture was in Korea. Koreans are fixed for the non smelly armpit version of ABCC11 and the amped up version of EDAR. Agriculture, especially growing rice, must be the key. Koreans also have high levels of some gene variants associated with cooperation.

  7. @Shaikorth
    Don't have D-stats but I did find allele sharing distances which like D-stats should not be too shaken by recent drift. This comparison is with Mbuti Pygmies and comes from Behar et al 2010, read it like inverse IBS - lower means closer.

    Cambodian 0.28739
    Yizu 0.28813
    Han 0.28847
    Hezhen 0.28868
    Miaozu 0.28887
    Lahu 0.28893
    She 0.28898


    Sindhi 0.28636
    Hazara 0.28756

    Druze 0.28874

    Chuvash 0.29083
    Tuscans 0.29089
    Hungarians 0.29216
    French 0.29220
    Belorussians 0.29240
    Orcadians 0.29308

    Relation of Chinese minority populations to Han doesn’t precisely correlate with their distance from Mbuti, though the differences are small:

    She 0.20774
    Miaozu 0.20814
    Yizu 0.20976
    Hezhen 0.21079
    Lahu 0.21132

    Cambodian 0.21381

  8. You might want check out the Baiyue people

    “The Baiyue, Hundred Yue or Yue were various partly or un-Sinicized peoples who inhabited South China and northern Vietnam between the first millennium BC and the first millennium AD.[1][2] In the Warring States period, the word “Yue” referred to the State of Yue in Zhejiang. The later kingdoms of Minyue in Fujian and Nanyue in Guangdong are both considered Baiyue states. Although people of Yue had knowledge of agriculture and the technology of shipbuilding, Chinese writers depicted the Yue as barbarians who had tattoos, lived in primitive conditions, and lacked such technology as bows, arrows, horses and chariots.

    The Yue were assimilated or displaced as Chinese civilization expanded into southern China in the first half of the first millennium AD. Variations of the name are still used in both the name of Vietnam (Chinese: 越; Vietnamese: Việt) and the abbreviation for Guangdong ”
    Wiki “Baiyue”
    Also see map therein
    Are the minority groups tested representative of the Baiyue?
    Finally looking around even the contemporary world it is hard to find a conquered people who have not been sexually abused by the conquerors

  9. I’d say the archaeological record definitely supports migrations from the Yellow River affecting neighbors to the south, especially during the bronze age. It seems before the bronze age, during the late neolithic there were a handful of very culturally (and even physically when you look at analysis of their crania, dental morphology etc.) different city-states that researchers termed the “Chinese interaction sphere”. What’s interesting is that during this late neolithic period scholars suggest that many of the southern city-states were actually more sophisticated than the northern ones. (Specifically talking about the Liangzhu culture and Sijiahe culture of the Yangtze compared to those in the north. According to: The Neolithic of Southern China- Origin,
    Development, and Dispersal by ZHANG CHI AND HSIAO-CHUN HUNG). I’ve read that flooding caused most of these city-states to collapse and proto-Chinese states to rise from the ashes. I’ve also heard comparisons of this archaeological record to the Yu the Great legend.

    An interesting speculation I’ve heard is that this migration from the Yellow River also moved north. If you look at the ancient Y-DNA of the areas north of the Yellow River before the bronze age, there are a lot of markers that would be uncommon in modern populations now residing there.
    http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2013/12/ancient-east-asian-y-dna-maps.html

    And then of course the recent papers which suggest that an ancient Y-DNA Q carrying population from the north was very influential in the development of early Chinese states.
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0125676
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajhb.22604/abstract

    As disclaimer, I only read casually about the history of Southeast Asia and China (because of my heritage) and don’t have a background in genetics, history or anthropology. It was actually your “Antipode of Asia” post a few years back that made me realize how important genetics was to analyzing pre-history and history.

  10. @juandonegone
    I would wager that Shu Qi, born in Taiwan, has aboriginal DNA to thank for her unique looks.

    I’d take that wager.

  11. @BB753
    Do North and South Chinese have different drinking habits due to a greater ability to process alcohol in the North?

    The clip is a spoof, not science. Anecdotally, observationally, I have noticed no such clear cut differences. In terms of alcohol response, I’ve seen kamikaze drinkers (both men and women) in both north and south, and a minority of people in both north and south who just can’t take alcohol at all without feeling really sick. Likewise general behaviour – Cantonese women can be really fierce.

    • Replies: @Bill P

    Likewise general behaviour – Cantonese women can be really fierce.
     
    Maybe so, but they can't hold a candle to Dongbei girls when it comes to sheer lack of class and stubbornly rude and aggressive behavior. The video is accurate on that count, even if it does exaggerate the stereotype a bit.
  12. Here’s a question regarding Cavalli-Sforza’s emphasis on the distinctness of North and South Chinese in his 1994 big book: was that a novel emphasis or were there precursors among the physical anthropologists like Carlton Coon?

    • Replies: @Sean
    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1508726/why-chinas-wheat-growing-north-produces-individualists-and-its-rice

    https://www.unz.com/pfrost/rice-farming-and-gene-culture-co/

    There was a woman on BBC WS today talking about N. Korea schools and how they taught arithmetic by questions such as "Two American bastards come over the hill and you kill them, and then another two come and you kill them. How many American bastards have you killed?"

    , @Bill P
    Not novel at all. IIRC the Encyclopedia Britannica circa 1985 clearly stated that there was a large caucasoid component to northern Chinese that was lacking south of the Yangtze. Not sure whether that's true or not, but there was speculation along those lines long before the advent of accurate DNA modeling.

    Not many people talk about the immanent features of the north-south Yangtze (Chang Jiang) divide, but I've seen them myself -- when I took the slow train from Hong Kong to Beijing.

    There's bok choy on the south side and bai cai (napa cabbage) on the north. Same characters, different pronunciations and different vegetables. Water buffalo are the beasts of burden in the south; oxen in the north. The conical coolie hats prevail in the south, whereas straw hats with a crown are the norm to the north.

    The Yangtze is an enormously important cultural - and apparently ethnic - divide in China.
  13. @juandonegone
    I would wager that Shu Qi, born in Taiwan, has aboriginal DNA to thank for her unique looks.

    Your so called ‘unique looks’ are common in certain part of mainland China known as the ‘Jiangnam beauty’ (or Gangnam in local language) famous since the Tang Dynasty
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiangnan_Circuit

    Most Taiwanese are originally from Fujian. Here is a photo of the Fujian division of a beauty contest http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/event1454.html

    Most westerners are more familiar with the Cantonese looks.

    • Replies: @BB753
    Most Cantonese I´ve met, Hongkongers to be accurate, were pretty tall and slender. Perhaps there was some class selection in action, as they were for the most part engineering students in England. There was one was one short, stout, very light-skinned Hakka student, originally from Central China. He held the Cantonese in contempt, for some reason, and was more easy-going and less nerdy than the rest. This Chinese student was also the only one with a 20/20 vision, out of perhaps 20 or 30 students!

    I´ve since met some northern Chinese and there isn´t that much of a difference with other Chinese, except their women are taller.The men, less noticeably so compared to other Chinese. Keep in mind that China is huge!
    , @Sean

    Laura Betzig:- 'In China they had it down to a science. Yangdi, the 6th-century Sui dynasty emperor, was credited by an official historian with 100,000 women in his palace at Yangzhou alone," she said.

    "They even had sex handbooks describing how to work out when a woman was fertile. Then they would be taken to the emperor to be impregnated.

    "It was all organised by the state so the emperor could impregnate as many women as possible. And they had rules, like all the women had to be under 30 and all had to be attractive and symmetrical. This was the system in China for more than 2,000 years."'
     
  14. @dux.ie
    Your so called 'unique looks' are common in certain part of mainland China known as the 'Jiangnam beauty' (or Gangnam in local language) famous since the Tang Dynasty
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiangnan_Circuit

    Most Taiwanese are originally from Fujian. Here is a photo of the Fujian division of a beauty contest http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/event1454.html

    Most westerners are more familiar with the Cantonese looks.

    Most Cantonese I´ve met, Hongkongers to be accurate, were pretty tall and slender. Perhaps there was some class selection in action, as they were for the most part engineering students in England. There was one was one short, stout, very light-skinned Hakka student, originally from Central China. He held the Cantonese in contempt, for some reason, and was more easy-going and less nerdy than the rest. This Chinese student was also the only one with a 20/20 vision, out of perhaps 20 or 30 students!

    I´ve since met some northern Chinese and there isn´t that much of a difference with other Chinese, except their women are taller.The men, less noticeably so compared to other Chinese. Keep in mind that China is huge!

  15. @Steve Sailer
    Here's a question regarding Cavalli-Sforza's emphasis on the distinctness of North and South Chinese in his 1994 big book: was that a novel emphasis or were there precursors among the physical anthropologists like Carlton Coon?

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1508726/why-chinas-wheat-growing-north-produces-individualists-and-its-rice

    https://www.unz.com/pfrost/rice-farming-and-gene-culture-co/

    There was a woman on BBC WS today talking about N. Korea schools and how they taught arithmetic by questions such as “Two American bastards come over the hill and you kill them, and then another two come and you kill them. How many American bastards have you killed?”

  16. @dux.ie
    Your so called 'unique looks' are common in certain part of mainland China known as the 'Jiangnam beauty' (or Gangnam in local language) famous since the Tang Dynasty
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiangnan_Circuit

    Most Taiwanese are originally from Fujian. Here is a photo of the Fujian division of a beauty contest http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/event1454.html

    Most westerners are more familiar with the Cantonese looks.

    Laura Betzig:- ‘In China they had it down to a science. Yangdi, the 6th-century Sui dynasty emperor, was credited by an official historian with 100,000 women in his palace at Yangzhou alone,” she said.

    “They even had sex handbooks describing how to work out when a woman was fertile. Then they would be taken to the emperor to be impregnated.

    “It was all organised by the state so the emperor could impregnate as many women as possible. And they had rules, like all the women had to be under 30 and all had to be attractive and symmetrical. This was the system in China for more than 2,000 years.”‘

  17. The drinking related ADH genes affect northern Chinese more. Koreans and Japanese are also affected but not Mongols. If northern Chinese drink more it is probably due to climate and culture not biology.

    The lack of sexual dimorphism among Chinese is a curious phenomenon. Its effects are more pronounced among people with malnutrition such as North Koreans. But generally Chinese are less sexually dimorphic than Koreans or Japanese who show similar degrees of dimorphism as the rest of the world.

  18. An interesting titbit about the concept that Chinese have black hair. However many of them
    are latent carriers of red hair genes. Just observe the hair color of the children of mixed westerner and Chinese couple, about 20% of them will have red or blond hair.

    In https://www.unz.com/gnxp/the-genetic-architecture-natural-history-of-pigmentation/
    “The Genetic Architecture & Natural History of Pigmentation”

    One particular MC1R SNP rs2228479 in Asian, the % for Asian in Bronze Age is 0. Current A variant for CHB Chinese is more than 40%
    http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs2228479

    In Chinese history the Zhou people allied with the Jiang people to overthrow the Shang. The word Jiang (姜) in Chinese also mean red, e.g. http://cn.depositphotos.com/26661593/stock-photo-close-up-etlingera-elatior-flower.html
    It is also used to call people with red hair. The Jiang people with the help of the Zhou people and became one of the ruling elites (and population explosion) around 1000BC end of the bronze period.

    From a very rough survey of about 2000 Chinese surnames, the % (number of surnames not pop number) derived from the Jiang people is about 15%. Double that is close to the noted MC1R pct.

    The mythical origin of the Zhou people is closely related to the Jiang people, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiang_Yuan
    Hmm, didnot notice this addition before, “However, the American scholar Christopher I. Beckwith has recently proposed that
    they were of Indo-European origins instead.[3] Based on this assumption Beckwith suggests that Jiang Yuan belonged to a clan of Indo-European origin.[3]”
    I wont go as far as Bechwith, but very old genealogy record claimed that out of 10 Jiang chieftains 4 of them had senior wife from Guifang (Ghost Domain) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guifang
    So were some of the Zhou chieftains. The Zhou and Jiang were at that time at the north western China, further north than that would be Altai and Bactria. So it could be a case of frequent admixture.
    About 50% of Chinese surnames are from the Zhou and Jiang people from that period. Almost all of them are yDNA group O.

    For the Jiang’s help the Zhou awarded them the ducal state of Qi (modern Shangdong), the ancient capital of which was Linzi.

    The are dated mDNA data from Linzi during that period, they were different from the Han people 500 year later at the same place. The Hans occupied and evicted the old Qi ruling elites.
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/17/9/1396.full
    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1112/1112.2013.pdf

  19. @John Massey
    The clip is a spoof, not science. Anecdotally, observationally, I have noticed no such clear cut differences. In terms of alcohol response, I've seen kamikaze drinkers (both men and women) in both north and south, and a minority of people in both north and south who just can't take alcohol at all without feeling really sick. Likewise general behaviour - Cantonese women can be really fierce.

    Likewise general behaviour – Cantonese women can be really fierce.

    Maybe so, but they can’t hold a candle to Dongbei girls when it comes to sheer lack of class and stubbornly rude and aggressive behavior. The video is accurate on that count, even if it does exaggerate the stereotype a bit.

    • Replies: @John Massey
    Well, I'm damned - they go through Japanese occupation, then 'Liberation', the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and they turn out not to be submissive little pussies. How disappointing.
  20. @Steve Sailer
    Here's a question regarding Cavalli-Sforza's emphasis on the distinctness of North and South Chinese in his 1994 big book: was that a novel emphasis or were there precursors among the physical anthropologists like Carlton Coon?

    Not novel at all. IIRC the Encyclopedia Britannica circa 1985 clearly stated that there was a large caucasoid component to northern Chinese that was lacking south of the Yangtze. Not sure whether that’s true or not, but there was speculation along those lines long before the advent of accurate DNA modeling.

    Not many people talk about the immanent features of the north-south Yangtze (Chang Jiang) divide, but I’ve seen them myself — when I took the slow train from Hong Kong to Beijing.

    There’s bok choy on the south side and bai cai (napa cabbage) on the north. Same characters, different pronunciations and different vegetables. Water buffalo are the beasts of burden in the south; oxen in the north. The conical coolie hats prevail in the south, whereas straw hats with a crown are the norm to the north.

    The Yangtze is an enormously important cultural – and apparently ethnic – divide in China.

  21. @Bill P

    Likewise general behaviour – Cantonese women can be really fierce.
     
    Maybe so, but they can't hold a candle to Dongbei girls when it comes to sheer lack of class and stubbornly rude and aggressive behavior. The video is accurate on that count, even if it does exaggerate the stereotype a bit.

    Well, I’m damned – they go through Japanese occupation, then ‘Liberation’, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and they turn out not to be submissive little pussies. How disappointing.

    • Replies: @Bill P
    Hey, I didn't say I don't like northern Chinese girls -- I just told the truth about their character. Speaking for myself, I'd rather spend a night drinking in a rough tavern in Tianjin than go to some trendy Karaoke bar in Hong Kong. Northern Chinese girls are fine as they are. If you're the kind of guy who can handle them, they're better in many ways.
  22. The most recent paper I am aware of on the subject of cross-Eurasian admixture pegged West Eurasian admixture as 2.8% in Northern Chinese, 1.7% in Southern Chinese, 2.2% in Japanese, and 1.6% in Korean. One would presume if there was any more substantial West Eurasian admixture than this – particularly if it was admixture which the North Chinese had and the other populations lacked, it should be easily detected through means such as those used in the paper, or even normal ADMIXTURE runs. This is particularly the case because we now have access to archeogenetic material which is almost indisputably proto-Indo European, which would be the most likely source for Bronze Age West Eurasian genes.

    That said, the ethnogenesis of East Asians in general seems to be a bit of a black hole still at the moment, considering how areas like Europe and South Asia have been to a large extent “solved.” The conjecture I have seen however is that East Asians can mostly be explained due to varying levels of admixture (which happened multiple times during the neolithic) between a population similar to modern Eastern Siberians and different Austro-Melanesian groups. This may of course be wrong – IIRC Razib has said there are major archeogenetic projects in the work for East Asia. Certainly unlike say the Near East or Africa, there are probably plenty of cold, dry environments with excellent possibilities for DNA preservation, meaning it’s only a matter of time before we have the answers.

  23. The north and south girlfriend video is so true!

  24. @John Massey
    Well, I'm damned - they go through Japanese occupation, then 'Liberation', the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and they turn out not to be submissive little pussies. How disappointing.

    Hey, I didn’t say I don’t like northern Chinese girls — I just told the truth about their character. Speaking for myself, I’d rather spend a night drinking in a rough tavern in Tianjin than go to some trendy Karaoke bar in Hong Kong. Northern Chinese girls are fine as they are. If you’re the kind of guy who can handle them, they’re better in many ways.

  25. The mutant variations of ADH1B and ALDH2 appear to be centered around southern Chinese on the coast, not northern Chinese around yellow river as reported by papers >20 years old.

    Since they(Hong Kong, Shanghai etc.) have higher visibility than the rest of southern Chinese do, this may have contributed to the perceived difference between Northern and Southern Chinese.

    However the frequencies of these mutations drop off sharply in Southeast Asia and most Southeast Asians have significantly less of them than even Northern Chinese so the genetic explanations based on this are not very satisfactory.

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