SV: genetic markers revisited

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ELENDER.HU
Sun Dec 3 16:37:36 UTC 2000

Vidhyanath Rao [SMTP:rao.3 at OSU.EDU] skrev 3. desember 2000 16:16:
> On Sat, 2 Dec 2000 19:05:25 +0530, Rajesh Kochhar <rkk at NISTADS.RES.IN>
> wrote:
> > Genetic studies cannot possibly distinguish between invasion
> > and  migration.
> There is a more basic question, beyoond others mentioned so far,
> which I don't know has been addressed or not: People tend to
> marry those not too far from where they are.  [Caste endogamy
> plus fast travel has made this inaccurate for modern India,
> but I doubt that it was so even 100 years ago.] So I would
> expect to see clines for frequency of genetic markers running from
> NW to S/E, irrespective of invasions or migrations. Any argument
> for migrations needs to stand out beyond this. Presumably we would
> need to use spatial stat methods for this. Have such analyses been
> done?

I know that migration patterns in Europe have been studied, and that
certain clines have been found. I am away from my library, and therefore
unable to give you much help in terms of bibliographic info, but here is at
least one title:

Sokal, Oden, and Thomson. 1992. The Origins of Indo-Europeans. Vol. 89,
Proc. of the Nat. Acad. of Sc:s, USA.

You may also find interesting info in the following one:

Robert R. Sokal et al. Genetic Differences Among Language Families in
Europe. Am. Journal of Phys. Anthropology. 1989

There are others as well, but I don't have the references. However, you may
be able to find relevant info in the bibliography of the papers cited
above. I don't think there are may good studies of the Indian situation, as
Steve Farmer and Vidyasankar Sundaresan seem to have made clear.

Unfortunately, the interpretation of the clines is not so simple, if I
remember correctly. Thus, it is fairly easy to show that migrations have
taken place, but not so easy to tell in which direction. In fact, some of
the interpretational difficulties that affect certain aspects of the
linguistic analysis also pertain to the genetic analysis.

An aside concerning marriage and the spreading of genes: in archaeic (and
not so archaeic) societies, men did not have sex only with their wives.
There was also the reward of the warrior: rape and capture of slave girls,
not to mention regular concubines and servant girls. So even if an Aryan
warrior brought his wife (or wives) to India, he may as well have shared
out his sperm generously among the local women. Please remember that the
model for a migrating Aryan tribe is more like a migrating Germanic or
Celtic tribe: which included women, children, pigs, cows etc. etc. It was a
society on the move, not a regular army like the Roman legions or the Greek
phalanx, or for that matter the Muslim central asian armies that overran
India in the Middle Ages. Read Caesars De bello gallico (first book) for a
vivid impression on how such a migration worked. (Germanic and Celtic women
often worked as "supporters" during a battle, standing "ring-side" and
urging their men on. And well they might, because if the men lost, they
ended up as slaves.)

All the best,

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone: +47 22 32 12 19
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Email: lmfosse at

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