Hyderabad: The great Indian divide along north-south lines now stands blurred. A pathbreaking study by Harvard and indigenous researchers on ancestral Indian populations says there is a genetic relationship between all Indians and more importantly, the hitherto believed ‘‘fact’’ that Aryans and Dravidians signify the ancestry of north and south Indians might after all, be a myth.
“This paper rewrites history… there is no north-south divide,’’ Lalji Singh, former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and a coauthor of the study, said on Thursday.
Senior CCMB scientist K Thangarajan added there was no truth to the Aryan-Dravidian theory as they came hundreds or thousands of years after the ancestral north and south Indians had settled.
The study was conducted by CCMB along with researchers at Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. It reveals that the present-day Indian population is a mix of the genomic contributions from the Ancestral North Indian and the Ancestral South Indian.
Around 65,000 years ago, initial settlements began in Andamans & ancient south India. Another 25,000 years later, the ancient north Indians emerged.
Eventually, north and south populations met, giving rise to a different set Present-day Indians are a mix of north and south, with genomic strains from two distinct ancestors-the Ancestral North Indian and Ancestral South Indian.
‘Castes grew out of tribe-like groups’
HYDERABAD: A pathbreaking study by Harvard and indigenous researchers on ancestral Indian populations say there is a genetic relationship between all Indians.
The study analysed 500,000 genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 diverse groups from 13 states. All the individuals were from six-language families and traditionally ‘‘upper’’ and ‘‘lower’’ castes and tribal groups.
‘‘The genetics proves that castes grew directly out of tribe-like organizations during the formation of the Indian society,’’ the study said. Thangarajan noted that it was impossible to distinguish between castes and tribes since their genetics proved they were not systematically different.
‘‘The initial settlement took place 65,000 years ago in the Andamans and in ancient south India around the same time, which led to population growth in this part,’’ said Thangarajan. He added, ‘‘At a later stage, 40,000 years ago, the ancient north Indians emerged which in turn led to rise in numbers here. But at some point of time, the ancient north and the ancient south mixed, giving birth to a different set of population. And that is the population which exists now and there is a genetic relationship between the population within India.’’
The study also helps understand why the incidence of genetic diseases among Indians is different from the rest of the world.
Courtesy: The Times of India