Notes: The northern Chinese origins of Yunnan Han people confirmed by genetics research

Dar Cho

“To ensure that our methods were applicable, we introduced the Han (Yunnan) into our study, the origin of which is well documented by ancient historical records. At approximately 200 B. C., tens of thousands of migrants entered Yunnan from the kingdom of Chu, which was located in what is today the Hubei Province of China.
The largest wave of immigration to Yunnan occurred early in the Ming Dynasty in 1389 A. D. Approximately 3 million Han people, most of whom came from Nanjing (Jiangsu Province today), and a few from Shanxi and Hebei Provinces, were sent to Yunnan by the emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Thus, they all came from northern China. In Midu County, Yunnan Province, where we collected the samples representing the Han (Yunnan) population, the Han people consider themselves ‘‘pure Han people’’. According to the county annals of Midu, they were the first migrants, following the army, and came from Jiangsu Province (North of the Yangtze River) in the Ming Dynasty. Actually, most of the Han people in Central Yunnan came from northern China. The spoken languages serve as further evidence indicating that the Han in Yunnan came from northern China. Today, the languages used by most Yunnan Han people belong to the northern dialect of Chinese.
The results of our genetic analyses are consistent with these historical records. The pairwise FST values between the Yunnan Han and the other two northern Han populations (Shangdong and Gansu) were very small (0.006 and 0.008). Furthermore, there were no statistically significant differences between them after Bonferroni correction (P.0.0003). Conversely, the pairwise FST value between the Yunnan Han and the Guandong Han, which is
a typical southern Han population, was 0.018, and the difference was significant. The PCA results based on different genetic distances also indicate that the Han (Yunnan) have a closer genetic relationship to the northern Han than the southern Han. Using the southern Han population for comparison, STRUCTURE analysis also revealed more consistent proportions of genetic components in the Han (Yunnan) and other northern Han populations. Consequently, for a relatively short time, the genetic variation of the Han (Yunnan) was mainly determined by their
origin, and the Han (Yunnan) and the Han in northern China still have a similar genetic makeup, although they are separated by large geographic distances. The consistency between the historical records and our genetic analyses also shows that our microsatellitebased methods can be used to correctly trace population origins.”

Source: Hao Sun, Autosomal STRs Provide Genetic Evidence for the Hypothesis That Tai People Originate from Southern China, PLOs ONE April 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 4 | e60822


To read about the Yunnan pigtrough boat legend, click here.

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