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Phenotypic differences between highlanders and lowlanders in Papua New Guinea

Andre, M, Brucato, N, Plutniak, S, Kariwiga, J, Muke, J, Morez, A, Leavesley, M, Mondal, M and Ricaut, FX (2021) Phenotypic differences between highlanders and lowlanders in Papua New Guinea. PLOS ONE, 16 (7). ISSN 1932-6203

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Objectives Altitude is one of the most demanding environmental pressures for human populations. Highlanders from Asia, America and Africa have been shown to exhibit different biological adaptations, but Oceanian populations remain understudied [Woolcock et al., 1972; Cotes et al., 1974; Senn et al., 2010]. We tested the hypothesis that highlanders phenotypically differ from lowlanders in Papua New Guinea, as a result of inhabiting the highest mountains in Oceania for at least 20,000 years. Materials and methods We collected data for 13 different phenotypes related to altitude for 162 Papua New Guineans living at high altitude (Mont Wilhelm, 2,300-2,700 m above sea level (a.s.l.) and low altitude (Daru, <100m a.s.l.). Multilinear regressions were performed to detect differences between highlanders and lowlanders for phenotypic measurements related to body proportions, pulmonary function, and the circulatory system. Results Six phenotypes were significantly different between Papua New Guinean highlanders and lowlanders. Highlanders show shorter height (p-value = 0.001), smaller waist circumference (p-value = 0.002), larger Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) (p-value = 0.008), larger maximal (pvalue = 3.20e -4) and minimal chest depth (p-value = 2.37e -5) and higher haemoglobin concentration (p-value = 3.36e -4). Discussion Our study reports specific phenotypes in Papua New Guinean highlanders potentially related to altitude adaptation. Similar to other human groups adapted to high altitude, the evolutionary history of Papua New Guineans appears to have also followed an adaptive biological strategy for altitude.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science & Technology; Multidisciplinary Sciences; Science & Technology - Other Topics; HIGH-ALTITUDE ADAPTATION; BLOOD-PRESSURE; WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE; BODY-SIZE; HEMOGLOBIN CONCENTRATION; FUNCTIONAL ADAPTATION; GENETIC SIGNATURES; HIP RATIO; TIBETAN; HYPERTENSION; Thorax; Humans; Hemoglobins; Vital Capacity; Forced Expiratory Volume; Anthropometry; Body Height; Somatotypes; Altitude; Acclimatization; Phenotype; Adult; Middle Aged; African Continental Ancestry Group; Papua New Guinea; Female; Male; Hemodynamics; Waist Circumference; Indigenous Peoples; Acclimatization; Adult; Altitude; Anthropometry; Blacks; Body Height; Female; Forced Expiratory Volume; Hemodynamics; Hemoglobins; Humans; Indigenous Peoples; Male; Middle Aged; Papua New Guinea; Phenotype; Somatotypes; Thorax; Vital Capacity; Waist Circumference; General Science & Technology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 24 May 2022 15:02
Last Modified: 24 May 2022 15:02
DOI or ID number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253921
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16928
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