Skip to comments.Indian ancestry revealed
Posted on 09/23/2009 5:45:59 PM PDT by BGHater
The mixing of two distinct lineages led to most modern-day Indians.
The population of India was founded on two ancient groups that are as genetically distinct from each other as they are from other Asians, according to the largest DNA survey of Indian heritage to date. Nowadays, however, most Indians are a genetic hotchpotch of both ancestries, despite the populous nation's highly stratified social structure.
"All Indians are pretty similar," says Chris Tyler-Smith, a genome researcher at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge, UK, who was not involved in the study. "The population subdivision has not had a dominating effect."
India makes up around one-sixth of the world's population, yet the South Asian country has been sorely under-represented in genome-wide studies of human genetic variation. The International HapMap Project, for example, includes populations with African, East Asian and European ancestry but no Indians. The closest the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel of 51 global populations comes is Pakistan, India's western neighbour. The Indian Genome Variation database was launched in 2003 to fill the gap, but so far the project has studied only 420 DNA-letter differences, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in 75 genes1. Caste divisions
Now, a team led by David Reich of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Lalji Singh of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India, has probed more than 560,000 SNPs across the genomes of 132 Indian individuals from 25 diverse ethnic and tribal groups dotted all over India.
The researchers showed that most Indian populations are genetic admixtures of two ancient, genetically divergent groups, which each contributed around 40-60% of the DNA to most present-day populations. One ancestral lineage which is genetically similar to Middle Eastern, Central Asian and European populations was higher in upper-caste individuals and speakers of Indo-European languages such as Hindi, the researchers found. The other lineage was not close to any group outside the subcontinent, and was most common in people indigenous to the Andaman Islands, a remote archipelago in the Bay of Bengal.
The researchers also found that Indian populations were much more highly subdivided than European populations. But whereas European ancestry is mostly carved up by geography, Indian segregation was driven largely by caste. "There are populations that have lived in the same town and same village for thousands of years without exchanging genes," says Reich. Number puzzle
Indian populations, although currently huge in number, were also founded by relatively small bands of individuals, the study suggests. Overall, the picture that emerges is of ancient genetic mixture, says Reich, followed by fragmentation into small, isolated ethnic groups, which were then kept distinct for thousands of years because of limited intermarriage a practice also known as endogamy.
This genetic evidence refutes the claim that the Indian caste structure was a modern invention of British colonialism, the authors say. "This idea that caste is thousands of years old is a big deal," says Nicole Boivin, an archaeologist who studies South Asian prehistory at the University of Oxford, UK. "To say that endogamy goes back so far, and that genetics shows it, is going to be controversial to many anthropologists." Boivin fears that the study might be 'spun' by politicians seeking to maintain caste structures in India, and she calls on social scientists and geneticists to collaborate on such "highly politicized" issues.
Beyond the study's social repercussions, the low rates of genetic mingling "could have important implications for biomedical studies of Indian populations", notes Sarah Tishkoff, a human geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia who was not involved in the research. The partitioned population structure will need to be taken into account in any efforts to map disease genes, she says.
The small numbers of founders of each Indian group also have clinical consequences, says Reich. "There will be a lot of recessive diseases in India that will be different in each population and that can be searched for and mapped genetically," he says. "That will be important for health in India."
The evidence that most Indians are genetically alike, even though anthropological data show that Indian groups tend to marry within their own group, is "very puzzling", says Aravinda Chakravarti, a human molecular geneticist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, who wrote an accompanying News & Views article3. For example, Chakravarti notes that the study can't establish a rough date for when the ancient mixing between the two ancestral populations took place. "There are very curious features of the data that are hard to explain," he says, adding: "This is not the end of the story."
1. Indian Genome Variation Consortium J. Genet. 87, 3-20 (2008).
2. Reich, D. et al. Nature 461, 489-494 (2009).
3. Chakravarti, A. Nature 461, 487-488 (2009).
Don’t blame Whitey Ping.
‘One ancestral lineage which is genetically similar to Middle Eastern, Central Asian and European populations was higher in upper-caste individuals and speakers of Indo-European languages such as Hindi, the researchers found. The other lineage was not close to any group outside the subcontinent, and was most common in people indigenous to the Andaman Islands, a remote archipelago in the Bay of Bengal.’
‘This genetic evidence refutes the claim that the Indian caste structure was a modern invention of British colonialism, the authors say. “This idea that caste is thousands of years old is a big deal,”’
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Many moons ago ancient elders smoke em peace pipe with the paleface as mysterious spirits revealed.
I had no idea that anyone blamed the Indian Caste system on the British. But I guess I shouldnt be surprised.
Every culture I have ever read about has always had some kind of class structure with taboos about crossing the line (at least once the culture rose above the tribal level).
Why would India be different?
Some historians mistakenly believe that railroads were created for the transhipment of people and goods.
The real reason was so that the good people could be born on one side of the tracks, and the bad people on the other.
This is very strange. The indigenous Andamanese are Negritos, who have peppercorn hair and some other traits (like steatopygia) which are remiscent of African Bushmen (Khoi-San). They look very different from any mainland Indians of today.
I think rejection of caste helped Islam become entrenched in Bengal, and is a factor in the spread of Christianity, which is especially strong among the Dalit or “untouchable” caste.
I'd say more in line with Papua. I'm not up to date if there is a DNA link between the two.
Are their memories really that short? Maybe their recorded history ignored the caste system because it was so ubiquitous that it was invisible to those writing their history. It was always there everywhere so why talk about it?
I suppose the British are still hated in India and make a convenient scapegoat to blame their nasty caste system on when they talk to the Liberal Westerners. And of course the Brits a good Liberal reformed Colonial Masters must be self castigating and take the blame willingly.
The Andamanese don’t look much like Papuans at all, nor like most Australian aborigines. Peppercorn hair (as seen in the picture I posted) is found only in Andamanese and African Bushmen. Some think those two groups are the oldest, least changed human groups.
I really can't imagine who would think it was invented by the Brits.
This kind of dovetails with a discovery reported recently about various European and Middle-Eastern Haplogroups. It seems the MOST COMMON haplogroup in Europe is also the most common one in the Middle East EXCEPT, and this is a really big, huge EXCEPT, that haplogroup does not appear among the Sa'ami (Laplanders) in the far North in Europe, nor among Saudi Arabians living on the Arabian peninsula.
Think about it ~ the most common lineage of people in Europe and the Middle East simply disappears in the far North or in the Arabian desert.
Is it because that common type of human simply cannot reproduce itself outside it's narrow "range", or is there a disease, or does Sunlight control their reproductive capacity?
Now we come to India and there are only two main strains, and everybody is part of both, but in different proportions, but what about the other strains who've gone through there? What about the others who were known to have ruled vast areas in India ~ what happened to their genetic imprint?
Again, it's the same sort of pattern you get with Europe and the Middle East which are generally to the North.
Recently there was a report that Middle Easterners living in Sweden had VERY LOW birthrates. Are they trying to survive North of some level of sunlight that they have to have to reproduce?
There are definitely some strange things here that will, eventually, be explained by someone.
That's why its not surprising to find the Islanders don't look all that much like the guys on the Continent.
Papuans tend to have wooly hair somewhat like African Negroes, but not the extremely tightly-wound discrete clusters of hair described by the term “peppercorn.”
John McWhorter sez that the Khoi-San languages are believed to be the oldest surviving language family.
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The article also found that " New data sets...confirm the absence of any Andaman M2 haplotypes among the ethnic populations of India."
I really can’t imagine who would think it was invented by the Brits.
Higher than average levels of blood type B in India.
They also used MUSEUM SAMPLES (of questionable provinence I might add).
Article we are discussing is quite recent and is based on thousands of samples taken recently.
I think the old conclusions have been overturned.
BTW, the discovery that the San people are apparantly the source of the most ancient lineages for Europeans and Chinese (and everybody else outside of Africa) is NEW STUFF.
Nils Vander Post suggested as much 3/4 of a century ago.
Their culture is extremely primitive, being hunting-gathering. They can't even make fire, but carry around something already burning (e.g. ignited by lightning strikes).
Genetic studies often seem to me to conflict with each other.
As to San being ancestral to us honkies, see my post about the Venus of Willendorf.
They still had tropical proportions but were roughly as tall as modern Negro people in Africa ~ and were clearly NOT white folk!
Remember, during the period of maximum glaciation in an ice age you have recurring periods of warmer weather where the ice may well melt allowing plants and animals to return.
Our early European ancestors supposedly walked into Europe about 35,000 years ago, just about when many of those cave paintings were being made. It is entirely possible that other people had gotten to Europe earlier, while the descendants of the San people in Africa (guys with the straight hair) simply arrived later.
I think you are correct. It would be hard to live as a Dalit or in a caste society generally.
The cave paintings I have seen pictures of are superb mostly realistic art. Nothing remotely comparable to them is being made by San or Andamanese hunter-gatherers.
Way back when I studied genetics in college, my genetics prof told us there were only two races that he knew of, those who couldn’t breed at sea level and those who couldn’t breed at high altitudes. The rest were just skeletal / appearance differences.
Of course not ~ you must first find a cave.....
That sounds like a lot of hooey with a political agenda.
It’s more than just the lack of caves. Bushmen, Andamanese, and other nomadic hunter-gatherers produce hardly any art above ground. They are stuck in the Paleolithic. Remember, these guys can’t even make fire!
There appears to be a lot of work to be done on this subject. It's interesting that at one time in the distant past there was a lot of intermarriage, but that stopped with the advent of the caste system. So, what changed? Why didn't the invaders from the North start a caste system right away?
Caste is very much alive among Muslims and Christians in India. Its a social system not religious.
The Europeans didn't even bring hanta virus with them ~ it was indigenous and is still a risk to everybody living in the Western hemisphere.
The primary reason Europeans purchased slaves from Africans was to REPOPULATE the agricultural regions in South and Central America as rapidly as possible to create wealth.
Those regions were not pristine jungle that'd never known the plough. Most of it had been good farmland and it was returned to that purpose through the hard work of African people who could resist the heat, humidity and to some degree the diseases (e.g. malaria).
BTW, that's just the most recent European migration. The people who became the Sa'ami and the Berbers in the old world were migrating to North America as early as 17,000 years ago when there were still vast Ice sheets over the continent and the ocean was hundreds of feet lower. They created the Clovis culture.
Now, in India, the Indo-European invaders arrived much earlier than is generally thought ~ and became part of the founding population, not just an add on. That's why it's so difficult to identify the Persian invaders of the Vedic period ~ they were simply the same folks as an earlier group.
Moslem buddy of mine from Pakistan said "Don't let them fool you. Everyone still knows his own caste and history. You couldn't get married if you didn't."
Or, are we dealing with some other biological function that inhibits the reproduction of some haplogroups at that latitude.
Many of the others spoke languages with decidedly Dravidian and Uralic-Altaic connections (if not exactly roots). Indo-European languages arrived with outsiders long after post-glacial Europe had been completely resettled. Their languages come from an area of greater technological and agricultural prowess. Adopting those languages gave the European natives access to the intellectual background of the Indo-European societies.
That would included advanced bronze culture, then iron! Plus, they were already growing larger horses that could do real work and carry a mounted rider.
There's a very good case to make that the original Europeans came from Central Asia about 35,000 years ago during an interstadial (brief warm period) and then got trapped in the Western refugia for the next 20,000 years (this is on the French/Spanish border). The first folks out of the refugia were the Sa'ami who traveled East and North around the receding glacial lobe, and then West to America over the winter sea ice that then covered the North Atlantic.
The Europeans who went East from Central Asia became the Chinese, Jomon and other Far Eastern people.
The non-Europeans in the Middle-Eastern refugia became the Arabs, Hebrews, etc. The Europeans in the Mediterranean refugia became yet other people today variously identified as Southern Europeans.
Do not credit the Indo-Europeans, who were most likely as dark as the modern Persian upper-class, with being the first or original "white folks" in Europe.
Berbers are Indo-MiddleEasterns who moved to North Africa not North America. Their movement happened only a few thousand years ago not 17,000. Your fact are totally off the wall. Beside you are only muddying the water with unrelated topics.
My point was the genetic evidence run contrary to the “invasion” theory. It totally lacks all the tell tell signatures of an “invasion”. Invaders usually stamp out the native genetic lineage and language, both of which survives in the northern Indian mainland.
Beside a Christian from India will tell you precisely the same thing about their custom as your Muslim buddy.
Earlier, some folks left the refugia and went East and North to become the Sa'ami in Far Northern Europe. They are decidedly "white" and speak 11 distinctly NON INDO EUROPEAN languages.
This same crowd also had some who went South to North Africa ~ their peculiar marker genes appear among the Berber but not other North Africans. They were in North Africa at least 14,000 years ago for this to have happened.
American Indians in North America ALSO show the same peculiar marker genes and analysts suggest the first Sa'ami in North America had to have arrived about 17,000 years ago. There's archeological evidence for this in fact.
Your point carried with it erroneous and extraneous material ~ to wit, a claim that Indo-Europeans invaded North America and exterminated the natives ~ something we now know to be totally untrue.
Folks up on the research always know what's not true.
Regarding Indo-European invaders, that's been going on both ways for thousands of years ~ first one way, then another ~ but they were NOT native to Europe in any period 5,000 years or so earlier.
Ergo, "white people in Europe" were there earlier. In my experience your hardcore, closest to the original type Indo-Europeans are all doggone near black after a summer in the Sun. That didn't mean they couldn't pass on their language much as English is being passed on, and for the same reasons ~ in America today if you don't speak English you are doomed to a life of poverty and backwardness. Same with China. You want to get ahead, you learn English. And in AFrica? You learn English.
Ice Age people were not different from us in that regard. Each new advance came with a vocabulary and a way of talking about it that had to be learned to improve one's life.
Regarding genetic evidence running contrary to the "invasion" theory, it definitely indicates that the blood-lines undergirding the early Indo-Persian genetic identity were already present in India from the foundations ~ and that'd be back there 50,000 or more years ago.
The "other" non-Indo-Persian genetic identity was also present from the foundations, but where?
The last 10,000 years or so have resulted in a melding of the two lines ~ but with clusters of each so that we can tell they originallye existed.
This, by the way, is consistent with the way genes move ~ as quanta. They don't get "blended" ~ their counts get changed.
As for your commentary on Buddha's family being expelled. I dont know where you got that from. Seems to me you have mixed up a lot of myths and mumbo jumbo ideas into your constructs.
The Daimyo or "Great Family" owned everything, everybody and ruled everywhere until the late 1800s. That's a caste that included the original invaders of circa 560 AD, They've been recently identified as being pretty much the same thing as the Yakuts/Sakha now in Russia. They had earlier been in India and were known as the Sakha. Buddha was a Sakha. We know a lot about Buddha and his family (and tribe) and where they came from originally ~ to wit, somewhere near Yakutia ~ their ancient history has just recently been identified and translated.
The other caste is everybody else except the Eta. The Eta worked with animals, meat and leather.
Today these groups are all pretty mixed but you can still identify the Sakha if you know what to look for.
The warrior caste in Japan never really got off the drawing boards. Their great civil war that'd been raging for hundreds of years was stopped through the creation of the Samurai ~ mostly from the previous Emeshi ethnic group in the 1300s.
Many American Indian tribes had caste systems.
Now, whether or not it's very recent or very ancient, ALL caste systems are invariably based on the power of the top caste to enforce it's standards AND they all use ancient tradition, or a call to ancient tradition or scripture as an excuse to keep the system.
Today's caste systems in South Asia could very well date back to AD 1, but they had a predecessor that went back even further!
In fact, if you take a good look at where the Buddhists are in South Asia you will note that they are at the periphery of Greater India~!
There's a reason for that.
I think you are working a far shorter time-line than I am. My focal point for discussion is 35,000 years ago when the people who'd pushed up from Africa to Central Asia decided to move on East and West.
The periods of glaciation were far more frequent at that time than they are today in our present Interglacial. That made it possible for people to move all the way to the Tigris/Euphrates Valley, to North of the Mediterranean and West to the Pyranees, as well as move all the way to the Huang Ho and Yantze valleys.
They started out as one people ended up identified as the Europeans and the Chinese.
Other early populations stayed more to the South and had a different development history. One of the main bloodlines among the South Asian people stretches all the way to Anatolia and overlaps the Middle Eastern refugia, but during the period when the big ice ruled they were separated for thousands of years.
What you're talking about, the Indo-European movements, etc. are really recent and took place within the last 6,000 years or so.
There were people around living on the land long before that.