Fundamental genomic unity of ethnic India is revealed by analysis of mitochondrial DNA

Roychoudhury, Susanta ; Roy, Sangita ; Dey, Badal ; Chakraborty, Madan ; Roy, Monami ; Roy, Bidyut ; Ramesh, A. ; Prabhakaran, N. ; Usha Rani, M. V. ; Vishwanathan, H. ; Mitra, Mitashree ; Sil, Samir K. ; Majumder, Partha P. (2000) Fundamental genomic unity of ethnic India is revealed by analysis of mitochondrial DNA Current Science, 79 (9). pp. 1182-1192. ISSN 0011-3891

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Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) profiles of 23 ethnic populations of India drawn from diverse cultural, linguistic and geographical backgrounds are presented. There is extensive sharing of a small number of mtDNA haplotypes, reconstructed on the basis of restriction fragment length polymorphisms, among the populations. This indicates that Indian populations were founded by a small number of females, possibly arriving on one of the early waves of out-of-Africa migration of modern humans; ethnic differentiation occurred subsequently through demographic expansions and geographic dispersal. The Asian-specific haplogroup M is in high frequency in most populations, especially tribal populations and Dravidian populations of southern India. Populations in which the frequencies of haplogroup M are relatively lower show higher frequencies of haplogroup U; such populations are primarily caste populations of northern India. This finding is indicative of a higher Caucasoid admixture in northern Indian populations. By examining the sharing of haplotypes between Indian and south-east Asian populations, we have provided evidence that south-east Asia was peopled by two waves of migration, one originating in India and the other originating in southern China. These findings have been examined and interpreted in the light of inferences derived from previous genomic and historical studies.

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