Faculty of Science together with International Researchers study DNA from Prehistoric Bones found in Southeast Asia

24 December 2018

Faculty of Science

CMU’s Researchers, Faculty of Science, together with international researchers, have studied the DNA from prehistoric bones found in Southeast Asia and they have discovered that prehistoric humans in Vietnam and Thailand have similar genes. This shows that their ancestors were Mon – Khmer who had settled down in this region around 3,000 years ago. “Ancient genomes document multiple waves of migration in Southeast Asian prehistory” is the name of research that has been printed in the Science Journal on May 17, 2018. This journal has a high impact factor or is frequently referenced each year, reaching Quartile 1 rankings. The international team consisted of Thai, American, French, Japanese, New Zealand, Vietnamese, Burmese, Italian, Czech, Portuguese, and Croatian researchers. The project aimed to study genetic relations in DNA take from prehistoric humans bones found in Southeast Asia and compare them with the human bone samples of today from people who lived in various regions of the world, in order to answer the question about migration routes of the prehistoric human population. Prehistoric bones have been discovered in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand, dated some 2,000 – 4,000 years old, and are examined using a DNA technique called “next generation sequencing.” The DNA results indicate that people migrated from the Yangze river basin around 9,000 years ago, spreading from southern part of China towards Southeast Region around 3,000 years ago. In Thailand prehistoric bone samples have been discovered in Baan Chiang Ancient Sources, Udonthanee Province, dated 2,400 - 3,500 years old, placing them in the late Stone Age to early Metallic Age. The Thai researchers, Assistant Professor Dr. Chatupol Kumpuansai, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University and Assistant Professor Dr. Wipoo Kutanan, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Khon Kean University believe that these bone samples came from the “Malabree” and “Tin” people in Nan Province. This is the 2nd study of DNA from prehistoric bone samples in Thailand; the first study was on Ancient Source of Baan Lum Kao and Ancient source of Nern Ulok in Nern Soong District, Nakornrajchasrima Province in 2008. The differences in Thailand’s ethic groups are thus a result of different groups migrating at different times and the acceptance and understanding of the population’s basic DNA differences can improve accuracy within the fields of genetic medicine, forensic science and epidemiology.