AIT, NEW genetic evidence

Dr. Nupam Mahajan nupam at MED.UNC.EDU
Sun Jan 9 12:51:00 EST 2000

Hello friends,

Recently I noticed two papers which are published in Current Biology
(London) which provided some interesting data  regarding the supposed Aryan
invasion of India. They have used the mitochondrial DNA sequencing
followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism to substantiate
their interpretation. The references are as follows:

1. Human evolution: The southern route to Asia
Todd R. Disotell
Current Biology, Vol 9, No 24, pp R925-R928

2. Deep common ancestry of Indian and western-Eurasian
mitochondrial DNA lineages
T. kivisild et. al.
Current Biology, Vol 9, No 22, pp 1331-134

Those of who who may take bit of time to get these two papers, I am
enclosing  their findings (relevant paragraphs, ditto) below.

"Research on human origins has tended to focus on the origins of western
Eurasians: only recently have genetic studies examined south and east asian
populations in depth. Recent work suggests that the supposed Aryan invasion
of India 3000-4000 years ago was much less significant than is generally

"The first and the most profound layer of overlap between the
western-Eurasian and the Indian mtDNA lineage relates to haplotype U, a
complex mtDNA lineage cluster with an estimated age of 51,000-67,000 years.
We calculated the coalescence age essentially as described (ref 15,17) and
estimate the split between the Indian and western-Eurasian U2 lineage as
53,000 +/- 4,000 years before present".

"Typical western-Eurasian mtDNA lineage found in India belongs to
haplogroups H,I,J, T,X and to subclass U1,U4, U5 and K haplogroup U.
Frequencies of these lineages in Indian populations are more than an order
of magnitude lower than in Europe:5.2% versus 70%. This finding might be
explained by gene flow. Neverthless, we note that the frequency of these
mtDNA haplotypes reveals neither a strong north-south, nor language-based
gradient; they are found in both among Hindi speakers from Uttar Pradesh
(6%) and Dravidians of Andhra pradesh (4%). Assuming that they are largely
of western-Eurasian origin, we may ask when their spread started. We
obtained divergence time of 9300 +/- 3000 years. This is an average over an
unknown number of various founders and therefore, does not tell us whether
there were one or many migration waves, or whether there was a continous
long-lasting gradual admixture. Their low frequency but still general spread
all over India plus the estimated time scale, does not support a recent
massive Indo-Aryan invasion, at least as far as maternally inherited genetic
lineage are concerned. Furthermore, the spread of these
western-Eurasian-specific mtDNA clusters also among Dravidic-speaking
populations of India lends credence to the suggested linguastic connection
between Elamite and Dravidian populations".

(I would add here that, the sperm does not contribute mitochondria during
the fertilization with egg, thus allow the molecular biologist to decide the
age based on the rare of mutation, the time scale at molecular level.Thus,
the mitochondrial inheritance is almost always maternal. This is perhaps the
most reliable method and has been used widely.)

"The supposed Aryan invasion of India 3000-4000 years before present
therefore did not make a major splash in the Indian gene pool. This is
especialy counter-indicated by the presence of equal, though very low,
frequencies of the western Eurasian mtDNA types in both southern and
northern india. Thus, the `Caucasoid' features of south Asians (Indians) may
best be considered `pre-caucasoid' -that is, part of diverse north or north
east western Eurasian and southern Asian populations over 50,000 years ago".

I hope this helps to many scholars in this list.

Best wishes,


Dr. Nupam Mahajan, PhD, FRNS
Room 230, CB#7295
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
UNC, Chapel Hill, Nc 27599, USA

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