Peopling of India: Insights from Genetics

Abstract

Genes move as people move. Therefore, it is possible to reconstruct trails of human migration by studying genetic characteristics of people from different regions of the world. Humankind evolved out of Africa and moved out of Africa to populate different parts of the world. One of the earliest waves of human migration from out‐of‐Africa came into India. Genetic data have been helpful in reconstructing the processes of peopling of India and the relationships among contemporary ethnic groups of India. This article provides an overview of these findings.

Keywords: Indian; DNA polymorphism; tribe; caste; migration; admixture

Figure 1.

Trails of human migration as reconstructed using archaeological and genetic evidence. Reproduced form Klein J and Takahata N (2002) Where do we come from? The molecular evidence for human descent p267 with kind permission of springer science and Business Media.

close

References

Ballinger SW, Schurr TG, Torroni A et al. (1992) Southeast Asian mitochondrial DNA analysis reveals continuity of ancient mongoloid migrations. Genetics 130: 139–152.

Bamshad M, Kivisild T, Watkins WS et al. (2001) Genetic evidence on the origins of Indian caste populations. Genome Research 11: 994–1004.

Basu A, Mukherjee N, Roy S et al. (2003) Ethnic India: a genomic view, with special reference to peopling and structure. Genome Research 13: 2277–2290.

Beteille A (1998) The Indian heritage – a sociological perspective. In: Balasubramanian D and Rao NA (eds) The Indian Human Heritage, pp. 27–94. Hyderabad: Universities Press.

Cann RL (2001) Genetic clues to dispersal of human populations: retracing the past from the present. Science 291: 1742–1748.

Cordaux R, Saha N, Bentley GR et al. (2003) Mitochondrial DNA analysis reveals diverse histories of tribal populations from India. European Journal of Human Genetics 11: 253–264.

Cordaux R, Weiss G, Saha N and Stoneking M (2004) The Northeast Indian passageway: a barrier or corridor for human migrations? Molecular Biology and Evolution 21: 1525–1533.

Gadgil M, Joshi N, Manoharan S, Patil S and Prasad UVS (1998) Peopling of India. In: Balasubramanian D and Rao NA (eds) The Indian Human Heritage, pp. 100–129. Hyderabad: Universities Press.

Guha BS (1935) The racial affinities of the people of India. In: Census of India, 1931, Part III – Ethnographical. Simla: Government of India Press.

Karve I (1961) Hindu Society: An Interpretation. Poona: Deshmukh Prakashan.

Kennedy KAR, Deraniyagala SU, Roertgen WJ, Chiment J and Sisotell T (1987) Upper Pleistocene fossil hominids from Sri Lanka. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 72: 441–461.

Kivisild T, Bamshad MJ, Kaldma K et al. (1999) Deep common ancestry of Indian and western‐Eurasian mitochondrial DNA lineages. Current Biology 9: 1331–1334.

Kivisild T, Rootsi S, Metspalu M et al. (2003) The genetic heritage of the earliest settlers persists both in Indian tribal and caste populations. American Journal of Human Genetics 72: 313–332.

Kosambi DD (1964) The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India in Historical Outline, 1991 Reprint. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd.

Kosambi DD (1991) The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India in Historical Outline. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.

Kumar V, Reddy ANS, Babu JP et al. (2007) Y‐chromosome evidence suggests a common paternal heritage of Austro‐Asiatic populations. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7: 47–60.

Majumder PP, Roy B, Banerjee S et al. (1999) Human‐specific insertion/deletion polymorphisms in Indian populations and their possible evolutionary implications. European Journal of Human Genetics 7: 435–446.

McAlpin DW (1981) Proto‐Elamo‐Dravidian: the evidence and its implications. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 71: 3–155.

Misra VN (1992) Stone age in India: an ecological perspective. Man and Environment 14: 17–64.

Mountain JL, Hebert JM, Bhattacharyya S et al. (1995) Demographic history of India and mtDNA sequence diversity. American Journal of Human Genetics 56: 979–992.

Pattanayak DP (1998) The language heritage of India. In: Balasubramanian D and Rao NA (eds) The Indian Human Heritage, pp. 95–99. Hyderabad: Universities Press.

Ratnagar S (1995) Archaeological perspectives on early Indian societies. In: Thapar R (ed.) Recent Perspectives of Early Indian History, pp. 1–52. Bombay: Popular Prakashan.

Renfrew C (1992) Archaeology, genetics and linguistic diversity. Man 27: 445–487.

Renfrew C (1996) Language families and the spread of farming. In: Harris DR (ed.) The Origins and Spread of Agriculture and Pastoralism in Eurasia, pp. 70–92. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Sahoo S, Singh A, Himabindu G et al. (2006) A prehistory of Indian Y chromosomes: evaluating demic diffusion scenarios. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103: 843–848.

Sengupta S, Zhivotovsky LA, King R et al. (2006) Polarity and temporality of high‐resolution Y‐chromosome distributions in India identify both indigenous and exogenous expansions and reveal minor genetic influence of Central Asian pastoralists. American Journal of Human Genetics 78: 202–221.

Singh KS (1992) People of India: An Introduction. Calcutta: Anthropological Survey of India.

Thapar R (1966) A History of India, Volume 1. Middlesex: Penguin.

Thapar R (1995) The first millennium B.C. in northern India. In: Thapar R (ed.) Recent Perspectives of Early Indian History, pp. 80–141. Bombay: Popular Prakashan.

Further Reading

Endicott P, Metspalu M, Stringer C et al. (2006) Multiplexed SNP typing of ancient DNA clarifies the origin of Andaman mtDNA haplogroups amongst South Asian tribal populations. PLoS ONE 1: e81.

Forster P and Matsumara S (2005) Did early humans go north or south? Science 308: 965–966.

Gayden T, Cadenas AM, Regueiro M et al. (2007) The Himalayas as a directional barrier to gene flow. American Journal of Human Genetics 80: 884–894.

Kashyap VK, Guha S, Sitalaximi T et al. (2006) Genetic structure of Indian populations based on fifteen autosomal microsatellite loci. BMC Genetics 17: 7–28.

Luis JR, Rowold DJ, Regueiro M et al. (2004) The Levant versus the horn of Africa: evidence for bidirectional corridors of human migrations. American Journal of Human Genetics 74: 532–544.

Macaulay V, Hill C, Achilli A et al. (2005) Single, rapid coastal settlement of Asia revealed by analysis of complete mitochondrial genomes. Science 308: 1034–1036.

Quintana‐Murci L, Chaix R, Wells RS et al. (2004) Where west meets east: the complex mtDNA landscape of the southwest and central Asian corridor. American Journal of Human Genetics 74: 827–845.

Rosenberg NA, Mahajan S, Gonzalez‐Quevedo C et al. (2006) Low levels of genetic divergence across geographically and linguistically diverse populations from India. PLoS Genetics 2: e215.

Thangaraj K, Chaubey G, Kivisild T et al. (2005) Reconstructing the origin of Andaman islanders. Science 308: 996.

Underhill PA, Passarino G, Lin AA et al. (2001) The phylogeography of Y chromosome binary haplotypes and the origins of modern human populations. Annals of Human Genetics 65: 43–62.

Watkins WS, Prasad BV, Naidu JM et al. (2005) Diversity and divergence among the tribal populations of India. Annals of Human Genetics 69: 680–692.

Wells RS, Yuldasheva N, Ruzibakiev R et al. (2001) The Eurasian heartland: a continental perspective on Y‐chromosome diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 98: 10244–10249.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Majumder, Partha P(Jul 2008) Peopling of India: Insights from Genetics. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0006236.pub2]