Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia’
Studies of human DNA have found genetic changes or mutations over time that are distinct to certain groups of people. These distinctions are found in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA, passed down continuously only from mother to daughters) as well as Y chromosomes (which are passed down only from fathers down the male line).
Both Y chromosome and mtDNA types become genetic markers that enable human gene mapping of migrations and dispersal of human populations over time and place, through respectively male or female lines.
When these related genetic lines of human movement are plotted on a world map, they show the migration patterns through both male and female lines around the world. The distinct DNA markers are clear enough to show individual charting of male and female genetic movement of related peoples, going back 100,000 years to the earliest known human origins in eastern Africa.
What has been surprising in these mappings is, why are there differences between the movement of men’s and women’s genetic markers, sometimes quite disparately? (Fig.1)
The challenge to find the answer to this question was taken up by the Nusantara Academy of Development, Geocultures and Ethnolinguistics (NADGE), an independent research academy based in Malaysia and Indonesia. NADGE had in fact been doing its own studies of ethnic origins and population relationships among the Southeast-Asia/Pacific’s native Malayo-Polynesian peoples.
Observations during NADGE’s research show that there are at least two reasons why the migration charts of female genetic markers differ from that of males.
One reason, which in retrospect seems so obvious, is that male and female children of any given father and mother do not always migrate in the same direction.
NADGE Director and Lead Researcher A. Najib Ariffin explains, “A brother and a sister, each carrying the group’s paternal Y chromosome and maternal mtDNA respectively, may move in completely opposite directions and pass their genes along different routes.”
“So this male and female sibling separation rather than moving together,” Najib adds, “is one clear explanation of the dichotomy between men’s and women’s genetic marker distributions around the world.” He calls this the Male-Female Sibling Separation theory.
The other reason is less immediately obvious, but just as important and was discovered by Najib himself. It is basically that male and female mating partners may change within a lifetime of each man or woman.
Thus after having children with one mate, a man or woman may then have other children with another mate in another place, whose children will later migrate in directions other than that of the first half-siblings, whether male or female. This also contributes to the disparate migration routes between the genetic markers of the two genders. Najib names this the Polyparental Dispersion theory.
This observation began from Najib’s own family history, where both his native ethnic Malayo-Indonesian grandfathers had more than one wife each while his maternal grandmother was a member of the Qing imperial family of faraway China. This resulted in a widely spread family with a mix of several male and female genetic markers.
Najib even expands this mating partner observation, as follows, “In fact, the change of mating partners opens up at least two other lines of scientific enquiry; one in human genetic diversity, the other in social anthropology.”
“The first issue is, with the large number of possible DNA marker configurations between different male or female siblings of more than one shared father or mother, it is surprising that human genetic route differences are not even more convoluted than we can see on the human genome map.”
The other line of enquiry arising from this observation is the question of prehistoric human mating patterns and even marriage existence and its patterns then.
Najib explains, “In more recent human sociological history, we are used to the idea of the married father and mother family unit.”
“But thousands or more likely tens of thousands of years ago, we know little of how developed was this ‘pairing’ concept and practice in prehistoric society, and thus how it would have affected the differences in genetic movements of and between human population groups.” Najib is in fact interested to do more research into this aspect of human evolutionary history.
“All we do know,” Najib expounds, “is that there must have been persons who had children with more than just one partner, as people still do today, resulting in more genetic route diversity and cross-mixing.” He adds, “This multiple pairing could have been voluntary, or forced by separation through natural incidences such as death, disasters or even getting lost while searching for food, or forced as in abductions and taken to other places.”
Whatever it is, these explanations have helped to answer and even expand the matter of why there were baffling differences between the movements of male and female genetic markers in the great ancient human migration routes.
Najib’s research at NADGE on these issues is continuing and would be submitted to Malaysia’s National Science Academy as well as other scientific researchers for review.
Malaysian authorities are hopeful that more research such as these could one day lead to the nation’s first Nobel Prize nomination, especially in the Sciences.
A tour guiding & research trip to Sarawak brings back this perennial tale. By A. Najib Ariffin
In the Damai area not far from Kuching, the bustling state capital of Sarawak, lies a set of picturesque low mountains. An even better view can be found from Bako National Park, where from the beach on a clear day the profile of Gunung or Mount Santubong looks like a pregnant lady lying on the horizon. This is the abode of Puteri Santubong, the mythical Princess of yore. There are a few versions of this ancient legend, and here is told the popular general version. More »
The Malay College Kuala Kangsar, Perak
It is not just any school.
Nestled in one of the most scenic and heritage-filled settings of Perak, indeed of all Malaysia, is a fully residential secondary school that is unique not only to the country but it could be said, even to the world.
MCKK, as the college’s acronym is now long known, would in turn bring worldwide fame to the charming, quiet hamlet where it was born.
Kuala Kangsar was already a royal town of Perak state when at the start of the 20th Century, the 28th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Idris Murshidul Azam Shah (1849-1916), began calling for an exclusive school to be set up to educate children of the local elite. Even at the 2nd Conference of Rulers in Kuala Lumpur in July 1903, the Sultan had criticized the discrimination in British education policy for, in his words, “…producing better Malay farmers and fishermen only…”
A serene Royal Town well worth preserving for its history and for tourism
Pahang’s Royal Town of Pekan is located near the mouth of the Pahang River, about 50km south of the state capital Kuantan. It is an attractive place of valuable and interesting heritage such as picturesque Malay villages, pretty mosques and of course the old and new royal palaces as well as an excellent state museum. Interesting activities abound including the traditional ‘tenun Pahang’ hand-woven cloths as well as local lifestyle homestays, fishing and taking nature or heritage trails.
Held at the Matrade Exhibition Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Nov-Dec 2007 in conjunction with Malaysia’s 50th celebration of Independence
Malaysia is internationally regarded as one of the world’s most successful developing nations, having risen from a poor backwater ‘Third World’ country relying on raw commodities to currently one of the Top 20 trading nations with a remarkably diversified economy that has embraced globalisation while retaining its independent control.
It is indeed an example of a national economic transformation that has pulled the country away from poverty and potential strife and brought itself to an enviable level of peace, progress and prosperity. Much can be learnt from Malaysia’s 50-year experience in sustainable economic development.
This Exhibition documented the 50 years of Malaysia’s economic transformation and achievements for all to learn and appreciate.
NADGE is proud to have been engaged to provide the bulk of the research and writing as well as English-Bahasa Malaysia translations of all the Exhibition’s written material.
[This article by A. Najib Ariffin appeared in Kuala Lumpur's YellowPost, November 2007]
Soon after Hari Raya Puasa, we have Deepavali. For the past few years this holiday season has been a special convergence – Deepavali & Aidil Fitri just weeks apart! This timing happens every about 30-odd years… Some of us may not be alive to see the next convergence (although I hope we all do, with fulfilled long lives); so let’s make the best of it. Forget the narrow-minded ones, and look broadly.
“Nasi lemak and teh tarik, since you don’t find this common in any other country”, was one such reply when the question ‘What’s the Malaysian People’s Best Shared Heritage’?
Indeed, some say food is our best heritage, or ‘foods’ since there are so many types that we Malaysians can pick and choose from among the different races in our multi-cultural nation. But is that all? Our best heritage is just an affair of the stomach? Nothing ethically wrong with that but it’s a bit shallow, ya tak? There must be more. More »
Kursus Pemandu Pelancong (Tourist Guide Course) – oleh A. Najib Ariffin
Masih tak disedari oleh ramai dalam masyarakat, tapi Pelancongan (Tourism) merupakan industri penting dan kedua terbesar dalam ekonomi Malaysia, dan bidang ini berpotensi sebagai punca rezeki yang baik.
Nadge terlibat dan memberi nasihat. More »
A brilliant new technology from Malaysia winds up elsewhere.
Feature Story by Elián E. González , www.donquijote.org/spanishlanguage/press
The little card actually lit up, indicating a direction to follow. “Ya, just follow the light on the card,” said Hazrein Yong Abdullah, as we started walking along the cavernous main hall of Kuala Lumpur’s new train hub in search of our platform. Hazrein, a nerdily bespectacled but tall broad-shouldered chap, is a free-lance mechatronics engineer. He and a group of pals have spent two years and cobbled together “all their savings” to do intensive research and come up with a ‘mass device’ that can help to show you the way to your platform, boarding gate or other destination, and more. More »