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Subject: [DNA] PubMed abstract: Y haplogroup R1a1 in India
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 11:45:51 EST


J Hum Genet. 2009 Jan;54(1):47-55. Epub 2009 Jan 9.

The Indian origin of paternal haplogroup R1a1* substantiates the
autochthonous origin of Brahmins and the caste system.

Sharma S, Rai E, Sharma P, Jena M, Singh S, Darvishi K, Bhat AK, Bhanwer
AJ, Tiwari PK, Bamezai RN.

National Centre of Applied Human Genetics, School of Life Sciences,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Many major rival models of the origin of the Hindu caste system co-exist
despite extensive studies, each with associated genetic evidences. One of the
major factors that has still kept the origin of the Indian caste system
obscure is the unresolved question of the origin of Y-haplogroup R1a1*, at times
associated with a male-mediated major genetic influx from Central Asia or
Eurasia, which has contributed to the higher castes in India. Y-haplogroup
R1a1* has a widespread distribution and high frequency across Eurasia, Central
Asia and the Indian subcontinent, with scanty reports of its ancestral (R*,
R1* and R1a*) and derived lineages (R1a1a, R1a1b and R1a1c). To resolve
these issues, we screened 621 Y-chromosomes (of Brahmins occupying the
upper-most caste position and schedule castes/tribals occupying the lower-most
positions) with 55 Y-chromosomal binary markers and seven Y-microsatellite
markers and compiled an extensive dataset of 2809 Y-chromosomes (681 Brahmins, and
2128 tribals and schedule castes) for conclusions. A peculiar observation
of the highest frequency (up to 72.22%) of Y-haplogroup R1a1* in Brahmins
hinted at its presence as a founder lineage for this caste group. Further,
observation of R1a1* in different tribal population groups, existence of
Y-haplogroup R1a* in ancestors and extended phylogenetic analyses of the pooled
dataset of 530 Indians, 224 Pakistanis and 276 Central Asians and Eurasians
bearing the R1a1* haplogroup supported the autochthonous origin of R1a1 lineage
in India and a tribal link to Indian Brahmins. However, it is important to
discover novel Y-chromosomal binary marker(s) for a higher resolution of
R1a1* and confirm the present conclusions.

PMID: 19158816 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


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