Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

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Whole genome sequencing of the remains of a woman who lived 2,500 years ago in what is now Aichi Prefecture are strikingly similar to those of 8,000-year-old human bones found in Southeast Asia, researchers said.

The groundbreaking finding was announced at an international scientific meeting in Yokohama on July 11. It is the first time that researchers have deciphered the entire genome sequence of an individual from the Jomon Pottery Culture (c. 8000 B.C.-300 B.C.).

The team led by Takashi Gakuhari, an assistant professor of biological science at Kanazawa University, jointly worked with an international research team headed by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

The finding was announced at a meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution following publication of the research in the digital edition of the U.S. journal Science on July 6.

The joint research group analyzed the entire genome sequence of an adult woman who lived during the latter stage of Jomon Pottery Culture, which is characterized by cord-marked pottery. The remains were unearthed in the Ikawazu Shell Mound in Tahara, Aichi Prefecture.

The team compared the data with those of 25 individuals at sites in Southeast Asia as well as those of modern people.

It emerged that prehistoric people in Southeast Asia can be divided into six groups.

The genome sequencing provided a close match to human remains in Laos dating back 8,000 years and those of individuals in Malaysia from 4,000 years ago.

“It has been scientifically proven that people in parts of Southeast Asia shared a genetic heritage with people who lived during the Jomon Pottery Culture," Gakuhari said, citing the remains found in the Ikawazu Shell Mound.