Ishigaki Island is one of the westernmost islands in Japan. Due to its geographical location, it is considered to have played a significant role in the migration route from Southern Asia to the Japanese archipelagos. Recently, human remains were excavated from Shiraho-Saonetabaru Cave, constituting the first physical evidence of human occupation on Ishigaki Island. In order to investigate the genetic makeup of the ancient Ishigaki people and to assess their genetic relationship with other Asian populations at a molecular level, we analysed the single nucleotide polymorphisms of the coding region of mtDNA that defines the haplogroups of these individuals. Because of the poor quality of the DNA extracted from the ancient material, it was not possible to analyse all samples. Among the 10 samples considered in this study, ancient DNA data was successfully extracted from five individuals. MtDNA haplogroups show geographic specificity within Asia
the existence of haplogroup B4e and M7a in this population hints at their linkage with Southeast Asia and the Late Pleistocene Ryukyu Islands.