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“Just wondering ... why no data on Hawaiian natives . . . . .”


A poster on a popular genetic genealogy discussion list asked this question in 2004:

"Just wondering ... why no data on Hawaiian natives that I can find, either Y or mt[DNA]?"


Here is the response [minor edits]:


From: "GKBopp" [email clipped]

Subject: Re: [DNA] Why no Hawaii?

Date: Sat, 16 Oct 2004 06:59:49 -1000


I have no Native Hawaiian ancestry and, as most of you know, contemporary genealogy is my primary interest. But as the only public member of this list currently living in Hawaii, I feel I should post a response to this thread.


Apparently the settling of the Pacific in general, and Hawaii in particular, is still uncertain, and several models are consistent with the data. The topic remains a subject of ongoing studies by scholars at the University of Hawaii and their collaborators in New Zealand, Australia, Berkeley, etc., and others as well. There is a lot of activity going on here; after all, Rebecca Cann (who helped discover "Eve") is here at the University of Hawaii. The current state of her work (and others) is described in Chapter13 of Steve Olson's book. That chapter is highly recommended to anyone seriously interested in this subject and includes conversations with Cann about the sensitivity needed in obtaining data (e.g., disturbing bones of ancestors is a cultural taboo).


Also, earlier in this thread, a link was posted to Garvey's "Y Haplogroups in California/Hawaii;" however, that study does NOT include Native Hawaiians. But it is a very good example of the type of medical genetic studies that are carried out in Hawaii. Hawaii is interesting to many researchers, not only because of Native Hawaiians, but because of the availability in one environment of large numbers of persons with varying ethnicities, as represented in today's Hawaii. Hawaii is a good test bed for such epidemiological studies.


Here is more information related to the above:


CANN is one of the authors of the mtDNA study showing all humans alive today descend from a single woman 200,000 years ago (the common ancestor was quickly dubbed "Eve" by the media and used by others, e.g., Sykes).


Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution.

Nature, 325 (1987), 31-6.

Rebecca L. Cann, Mark Stoneking & Allan C. Wilson

For a sample of Cann's work on Pacific populations, see:


mtDNA and language support a common origin of Micronesians and Polynesians in Island Southeast Asia (Lum JK, Cann RL)

OLSON (Steve Olson)

Mapping Human History : Genes, Race, and Our Common Origins

Available at, etc.


GARVEY [Paracchini study - note there are NO Native Hawaiians in it]
If you look at his chart and follow through to the link to the study you will see that Native Hawaiians are not represented in "A Y chromosomal influence on prostate cancer risk: the multi-ethnic cohort study" by Paracchini, et al




Georgia Kinney Bopp


For more on this subject, see this paper and references therein.
Oppenheimer, S. and M. Richards.
2001 Fast Trains, Slow Boats, and the Ancestry of the Polynesian. Islanders.
Science Progress 84(3):157-181.
Among other things, this paper and/or references therein, discuss the Polynesian Motif (mtDNA).


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