Demographic history of India and mtDNA-sequence diversity

Mountain, Joanna L. ; Hebert, Joan M. ; Bhattacharyya, Silanjan ; Underhill, Peter A. ; Ottolenghi, Chris ; Gadgil, Madhav ; Luca Cavalli-Sforza, L. (1995) Demographic history of India and mtDNA-sequence diversity American Journal of Human Genetics, 56 . pp. 979-992. ISSN 0002-9297

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The demographic history of India was examined by comparing mtDNA sequences obtained from members of three culturally divergent Indian subpopulations (endogamous caste groups). While an inferred tree revealed some clustering according to caste affiliation, there was no clear separation into three genetically distinct groups along caste lines. Comparison of pairwise nucleotide difference distributions, however, did indicate a difference in growth patterns between two of the castes. The Brahmin population appears to have undergone either a rapid expansion or steady growth. The low-ranking Mukri caste, however, may have either maintained a roughly constant population size or undergone multiple bottlenecks during that period. Comparison of the Indian sequences to those obtained from other populations, using a tree, revealed that the Indian sequences, along with all other non-African samples, form a starlike cluster. This cluster may represent a major expansion, possibly originating in southern Asia, taking place at some point after modern humans initially left Africa.

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