Dear Teacher Gates:
I have actually been watching your show and can not remember anybody having Melanesian in their DNA ethnicity results. I did the Ancestry.com DNA test and it showed 1 percent Pacific Islander-Trace Area: Melanesia. I just wondered how typically this comes up in people from the West Indies. My mom is Trinidadian and my daddy is Jamaican. I will send you the outcomes of the DNA test.– Karen Davis
The short answer to your question is that it turns up in people from the West Indies more typically than you might believe. First, for those who are not clear about what the term West Indies refers to, we asked Steven Niven, executive editor of the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Bio (of which I am co-editor-in-chief with Franklin W. Knight), for an excellent definition. He told us in an email, “The West Indies once referred to all of the Caribbean islands invaded and inhabited by various European nations from the 15th century onwards. By the mid-to-late 20th century the term came primarily to describe the English-speaking island countries of the Caribbean, plus Guyana in South America, which shared cultural, political, and financial links to the British Caribbean.”
Having that in hand, we connected to Ancestry.com with your question and received this reply by email from Yong Wang, a research study researcher there:
The short answer is that Karens outcomes are not uncommon for somebody with ancestry from the West Indies. Usually, AncestryDNA clients born in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are anticipated to have 0.26% and 0.98% of origins from Melanesia, respectively. So it is not uncommon for Karen to have about 1% predicted Melanesian origins provided that her parents were born in these 2 countries. Additionally, people born in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have the tendency to carry South Asian origins which is highly associated to Melanesian origins, and right in line with Karens results showing South Asian origins.
When somebody has substantial ancestry from one population or area, it is not unusual to estimate a little (and even large) quantity of ancestry from several nearby populations or areas. Throughout history, individuals have moved between populations and have actually intermarried; which is why, for example, we notice clients born in South Asia have the tendency to have small amount of forecasted Melanesian origins.
About 2,000 islands comprise Melanesia, extending from the Eastern Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea north and northeast of Australia and west of Indonesia. Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are among the countries of the Melanesian area. Inning accordance with Ancestry.com’s website on Melanesia, “Ancestors of the area’s native populations was available in two waves, the first from Southeast Asia some 40,000 to 60,000 years earlier. They consist of the Papuans and aboriginal Australians. The second wave, the Austronesians, arrived 3,500 to 3,000 years back.”
You likely already know that indentured servants from India in South Asia were brought to Trinidad and other Caribbean countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and your DNA report (“Asia South: … read more