Genetics and the Aryan myth

Preface

This post in “Exploring the Aryan myth” series [1] will cover related genetic studies.

Overwhelming genetic evidence against Aryan invasion or migration

Kivisild et al. 2003 [2] emphasize that the combined results from mtDNA, Y-chromosome and autosomal markers suggest that Indian tribal and caste populations derive largely from the same genetic heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians and have received limited gene flow from external regions.

Kashyap 2006 [3] reports in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science that most modern Indians descended from South Asians, not invading Central Asian steppe dwellers. A blogger did dwell upon an interesting point [4].

What is really interesting about the article though is not its mention of AIT being disputed but the surreptitious (and easily overlooked) mention of “technology” amongst things that do not appear to be indigenous and may have come from outside the region (excerpt: “If steppe-dwelling Central Asians did lend language and technology, but not many genes”)

Oddly though, nowhere in the article is there any evidence of “technology” being borrowed from Central Asia.
I wonder if this is just a bad copy or a subtle attempt at undermining the “scientific and technological achievements in ancient India? (Please read: “Does no one remember the Indian contribution to Technology?“)

Scientific and technological achievements in ancient India (Bharata) are however a tangential topic and will be covered in a different post.

Sharma et. al. 2009 [5] proposed “the autochthonous origin and tribal links of Indian Brahmins” as well as “the origin of R1a1* … in the Indian subcontinent” [6]. Hinduism Today provided a very lucid summary [7] of of this highly technical paper.

  1. If Central Asians invaded India to form the high castes, you would expect that brahmins have many Central Asian genes. They do not.
  2. R1a1 genes associated with high caste brahmins are highly concentrated in India but sparse in Central Asians.
  3. Brahmins, scheduled castes and tribals all show a common genetic ancestry.
  4. The age of this yet to be determined common parentage goes back, in India itself, to at least 9,000 years and possibly 20,000 years, leaving no genetic support for recent migrations.

Several recent studies of the distribution of alleles on the Y chromosome,microsatellite DNA,and mitochondrial DNA in India by Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology scientists in collaboration with researchers at Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT have cast strong doubt on the idea of a biological Dravidian “race” distinct from non-Dravidians (read Aryans from the Max Mueller, Romila Thapar, Michael Witzel, et. al. “school of thought”) in the Indian subcontinent. [8] [9]

A more exhaustive list of genetic evidence that debunks any Aryan invasion or migration is available at [6], and is quoted here.

The Aryan Invasion Theory is False – Genetic Evidence

  • No trace of “demographic disruption” in the North-West of the subcontinent between 4500 and 800 BCE; this negates the possibility of any massive intrusion, by so-called Indo-Aryans or other populations, during that period.
  • Deep late Pleistocene genetic link between contemporary Europeans and Indians, provided by the mtDNA haplogroup U, which encompasses roughly a fifth of mtDNA lineages of both populations. Our estimate for this split [between Europeans and Indians] is close to the suggested time for the peopling of Asia and the first expansion of anatomically modern humans in Eurasia and likely pre-dates their spread to Europe.”
  • Haplogroup U, being common to North Indian and “Caucasoid” populations, was found in tribes of eastern India such as the Lodhas and Santals, which would not be the case if it had been introduced through Indo-Aryans. Such is also the case of the haplogroup M, another marker frequently mentioned in the early literature as evidence of an invasion: in reality, haplogroup M occurs with a high frequency, averaging about 60%, across most Indian population groups, irrespective of geographical location of habitat. Tribal populations have higher frequencies of haplogroup M than caste populations.”

– U.S. anthropologists Kenneth Kennedy, John Lukacs and Brian Hemphill.

  • Migrations into India “did occur, but rarely from western Eurasian populations.”  There are low frequencies of the western Eurasian mtDNA types in both southern and northern India. Thus, the ‘caucasoid’ features of south Asians may best be considered ‘pre-caucasoid’ — that is,  part of a diverse north or north-east African gene pool that yielded separate origins for western Eurasian and southern Asian populations over 50,000 years ago.

– U.S. biological anthropologist Todd R. Disotell.

  • There is a fundamental unity of mtDNA lineages in India, in spite of the extensive cultural and linguistic diversity, pointing to a relatively small founding group of females in India. Most of the mtDNA diversity observed in Indian populations is between individuals within populations; there is no significant structuring of haplotype diversity by socio-religious affiliation, geographical location of habitat or linguistic affiliation.

– Scientists Susanta Roychoudhury and thirteen others studying 644 samples of mtDNA from ten Indian ethnic groups.

  • mtDNA haplogroup “M” common to India (with a frequency of 60%), Central and Eastern Asia (40% on average), and even to American Indians; however, this frequency drops to 0.6% in Europe, which is “inconsistent with the ‘general Caucasoidness’ of Indians.” This shows, once again, that “the Indian maternal gene pool has come largely through an autochthonous history since the Late Pleistocene.” U haplogroup frequency 13% in India, almost 14% in North-West Africa, and 24% from Europe to Anatolia. “Indian and western Eurasian haplogroup U varieties differ profoundly; the split has occurred about as early as the split between the Indian and eastern Asian haplogroup M varieties. The data show that both M and U exhibited an expansion phase some 50,000 years ago, which should have happened after the corresponding splits.” In other words, there is a genetic connection between India and Europe, but a far more ancient one than was thought.
  • If one were to extend methodology used to suggest an Aryan invasion based on Y-Dna statistics to populations of Eastern and Southern India, one would be led to an exactly opposite result: “the straightforward suggestion would be that both Neolithic (agriculture) and Indo-European languages arose in India and from there, spread to Europe.” The authors do not defend this thesis, but simply guard against “misleading interpretations” based on limited samples and faulty methodology.
  • The Chenchu tribe is genetically close to several castes, there is a “lack of clear distinction between Indian castes and tribes.

– Twenty authors headed by Kivisild – Archaeogenetics of Europe – 2000.

  • “Language families present today in India, such as Indo-European, Dravidic and Austro-Asiatic, are all much younger than the majority of indigenous mtDNA lineages found among their present-day speakers at high frequencies. It would make it highly speculative to infer, from the extant mtDNA pools of their speakers, whether one of the linguistically defined groups in India should be considered more ‘autochthonous’ than any other in respect of its presence in the subcontinent.”

– Mait Metspalu and fifteen co-authors analyzing 796 Indian and 436 Iranian mtDNAs. 2001.

  • Geneticist Toomas Kivisild led a study (2003) in which comparisons of the diversity of R1a1 (R-M17) haplogroup in Indian, Pakistani, Iranian, Central Asian, Czech and Estonian populations. The study showed that the diversity of R1a1 in India, Pakistan, and Iran, is higher than in Czechs (40%), and Estonians[12].
  • Kivisild came to the conclusion that “southern and western Asia might be the source of this haplogroup”: “Haplogroup R1a, previously associated with the putative Indo-Aryan invasion, was found at its highest frequency in Punjab but also at a relatively high frequency (26%) in the Chenchu tribe. This finding, together with the higher R1a-associated short tandem repeat diversity in India and Iran compared with Europe and central Asia, suggests that southern and western Asia might be the source of this haplogroup”.[12]
  • “Given the geographic spread and STR diversities of sister clades R1 and R2, the latter of which is restricted to India, Pakistan, Iran, and southern central Asia, it is possible that southern and western Asia were the source for R1 and R1a differentiation.     ”

– Kivilsid – 2003

  • Based on 728 samples covering 36 Indian populations, it announced in its very title how its findings revealed a “Minor Genetic Influence of Central Asian Pastoralists,” i.e. of the Indo-Aryans, and stated its general agreement with the previous study. For instance, the authors rejected the identification of some Y-DNA genetic markers with an “Indo-European expansion,” an identification they called “convenient but incorrect … overly simplistic.” To them, the subcontinent’s genetic landscape was formed much earlier than the dates proposed for an Indo-Aryan immigration: “The influence of Central Asia on the pre-existing gene pool was minor. … There is no evidence whatsoever to conclude that Central Asia has been necessarily the recent donor and not the receptor of the R1a lineages.”
  • “Dravidian” authorship of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization rejected indirectly, since it noted, “Our data are also more consistent with a peninsular origin of Dravidian speakers than a source with proximity to the Indus….” They found, in conclusion, “overwhelming support for an Indian origin of Dravidian speakers.”
  • The frequencies of R2 seems to mirror the frequencies of R1a (i.e. both lineages are strong and weak in the same social and linguistic subgroups). This may indicate that both R1a and R2 moved into India at roughly the same time or co-habited, although more research is needed. R2 is very rare in Europe.

– Sanghamitra Sengupta, L. Cavalli-Sforza, Partha P. Majumder, and P. A. Underhill. – 2006.

  • “The sharing of some Y-chromosomal haplogroups between Indian and Central Asian populations is most parsimoniously explained by a deep, common ancestry between the two regions, with diffusion of some Indian-specific lineages northward.”
  • “The Y-chromosomal data consistently suggest a largely South Asian origin for Indian caste communities and therefore argue against any major influx, from regions north and west of India, of people associated either with the development of agriculture or the spread of the Indo-Aryan language family.”
  • “Southern castes and tribals are very similar to each other in their Y-chromosomal haplogroup compositions.” As a result, “it was not possible to confirm any of the purported differentiations between the caste and tribal pools,” a conclusion that directly clashes with the Aryan invasion theory which purports that male European Aryans chased tribal adivasis and aboriginals down south.

– Sanghamitra Sahoo,  T. Kivisild and V. K. Kashyap. –  2006.

  • When Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa, he first reached South-West Asia around 75,000 BP, and from here, went on to other parts of the world. In simple terms, except for Africans, all humans have ancestors in the North-West of  the Indian peninsula. In particular, one migration started around 50,000 BP towards  the Middle East and Western Europe: “indeed, nearly all Europeans — and by extension, many Americans — can trace their ancestors to only four mtDNA lines, which appeared between 10,000 and 50,000 years ago and originated from South Asia.”

– Lluís Quintana-Murci,Vincent Macaulay,Stephen Oppenheimer,Michael Petraglia,and their associates

  • “For me and for Toomas Kivisild, South Asia is logically the ultimate origin of M17(Y-DNA Haplogroup R1a, associated with the male Aryan invasion theory) and his ancestors; and sure enough we find the highest rates and greatest diversity of the M17 line in Pakistan, India, and eastern Iran, and low rates in the Caucasus. M17 is not only more diverse in South Asia than in Central Asia, but diversity characterizes its presence in isolated tribal groups in the south, thus undermining any theory of M17 as a marker of a ‘male Aryan invasion’ of India. One average estimate for the origin of this line in India is as much as 51,000 years. All this suggests that M17 could have found his way initially from India or Pakistan, through Kashmir, then via Central Asia and Russia, before finally coming into Europe.”

– Stephen Oppenheimer

  • A (2009) study headed by geneticist Swarkar Sharma, collated information for 2809 Indians (681 Brahmins, and 2128 tribals and schedule castes). The results showed “no consistent pattern of the exclusive presence and distribution of Y-haplogroups to distinguish the higher-most caste, Brahmins, from the lower-most ones, schedule castes and tribals”. Brahmins from West Bengal showed the highest frequency (72.22%) of Y-haplogroups R1a1* hinting that it may have been a founder lineage for this caste group. The authors found it significant that the Saharia tribe of Madhya Pradesh had not only 28.07% R1a1, but also 22.8% R1a*, out of 57 people, with such a high percentage of R1a* never having been found before. Based on STR variance the estimated age of R1a* in India was 18,478 years, and for R1a1 it was 13,768 years.
  • In its conclusions the study proposed “the autochthonous origin and tribal links of Indian Brahmins” as well as “the origin of R1a1* … in the Indian subcontinent”.
  • S. Sharma, argued for an Indian origin of R1a1 lineage among Brahmins, by pointing out the highest incidence of R1a*, ancestral clade to R1a1, among Kashmiri Pandits (Brahmins) and Saharias, an Indian tribe.

– Sharma et al 2009

  • “This paper rewrites history… there is no north-south divide.”
  • “There is no truth to the Aryan-Dravidian theory as they came hundreds or thousands of years after the ancestral north and south Indians had settled in India.”
  • 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.”
  • “Impossible to distinguish between castes and tribes since their genetics proved they were not systematically different.”
  • The present-day Indian population is a mix of ancient north and south bearing the genomic contributions from two distinct ancestral populations – the Ancestral North Indian (ANI) and the Ancestral South Indian (ASI).
  • “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. Singh said that 70% of Indians were burdened with genetic disorders and the study could help answer why certain conditions restricted themselves to one population. For instance, breast cancer among Parsi women, motor neuron diseases among residents of Tirupati and Chittoor, or sickle cell anaemia among certain tribes in central India and the North-East can now be understood better, said researchers.
  • The researchers, who are now keen on exploring whether Eurasians descended from ANI, find in their study that ANIs are related to western Eurasians, while the ASIs do not share any similarity with any other population across the world.

– Thangaraj and Singh at a press conference.
–  “Reconstructing Indian Population History”, David Reich, Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Nick Patterson, Alkes L. Price & Lalji Singh, 2009


REFERENCES

[1] http://www.tattvaanveshanam.org/2010/06/15/exploring-the-aryan-myth/

[2] T. Kivisild, S. Rootsi, M. Metspalu, S. Mastana, K. Kaldma, J. Parik, E. Metspalu, M. Adojaan, H.-V. Tolk, V. Stepanov, M. Golge, E. Usanga, S.S. Papiha, C. Cinnioglu, R. King, L. Cavalli-Sforza, P.A. Underhill, R. Villems, The Genetic Heritage of the Earliest Settlers Persists Both in Indian Tribal and Caste Populations, The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 72, Issue 2, February 2003, Pages 313-332, ISSN 0002-9297, DOI: 10.1086/346068. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B8JDD-4R1VVG3-G/2/2af0a571c5129c92bda01054a004e210 )

[3] http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/01/0110_060110_india_genes.html

[4] http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/05/24/ait-and-sneak-attack/

[5] http://www.nature.com/jhg/journal/v54/n1/full/jhg20082a.html

[6] http://sites.google.com/site/r2dnainfo/R2-Home/Aryans/reasons-why-the-aryan-invasion-theory

[7] http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/wfdownloads/visit.php?cid=34&lid=77

[8] Ancestral Populations Of India And Relationships To Modern Groups Revealed ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2009)Reich, David; Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Nick Patterson, Alkes L. Price, and Lalji Singh (24 September 2009). “Reconstructing Indian population history“. Nature 461: 489–494.

[9] Aryan-Dravidian divide a myth : Study TNN, Sep 25, 2009, The Times of India


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11 thoughts on “Genetics and the Aryan myth

  1. GREAT work…..just like the fight for indepdance from racist british occupation took place…they left but they left in place a racist, pro white education system in place..which degenerates the achievements of the BROWN indian race…..soon a second fight Independence is about to take place……with the destruction of the aryan theory and FINALLY put the origins of european society within india NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND..i live in uk, and believe me they are one the racist societies on earth, aprt from the secular tv programs which distort the truth, the uk europe is very PRO WHITE..thats why india is stil under that ideology beacuse the british on purpose created the vast english christian schools, so that new generation of indians would be TAUGHT THEIR RACIST VERISON OF HISTORY…and then these indian will FIGHT AGAINST indians who propose OUT OF INDIA THEORY…the brainwashed indians who have been educated to christian taliban education find themselves havgint o protect the racist ideology beacues thats the way they are raised..from brith.

  2. Pingback: The Great Aryan Hoax – Exposed by Genetics(http://bit.ly/i62hAq) « About India

  3. I had updated post at my blog. I had changed it now to few paragraph and provided link of your site. My main aim is/was to put all article related to Bharat Pride in one blog. I am sorry that I reproduced it complete earlier and was my mistake.

  4. Pingback: The Great Aryan Hoax — Exposed by Genetics | Vimoh's Blog

  5. Pingback: C-14 dating, mistranslations and Aryans

  6. Pingback: Exploring the Aryan Myth

  7. Pingback: Genetics delivers another blow to Aryan myth

  8. [Originally posted at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breakingindia/message/592 by Aravindan Neelakandan]

    Here is yet another study which also goes against AIT/AMT:

    Human Y-chromosome haplogroup structure is largely circumscribed by continental boundaries. One notable exception to this general pattern is the young haplogroup R1a that exhibits post-Glacial coalescent times and relates the paternal ancestry of more than 10% of men in a wide geographic area extending from South Asia to Central East Europe and South Siberia. Its origin and dispersal patterns are poorly understood as no marker has yet been described that would distinguish European R1a chromosomes from Asian. Here we present frequency and haplotype diversity estimates for more than 2000 R1a chromosomes assessed for several newly discovered SNP markers that introduce the onset of informative R1a subdivisions by geography. Marker M434 has a low frequency and a late origin in West Asia bearing witness to recent gene flow over the Arabian Sea. Conversely, marker M458 has a significant frequency in Europe, exceeding 30% in its core area in Eastern Europe and comprising up to 70% of all M17 chromosomes present there. The diversity and frequency profiles of M458 suggest its origin during the early Holocene and a subsequent expansion likely related to a number of prehistoric cultural developments in the region. Its primary frequency and diversity distribution correlates well with some of the major Central and East European river basins where settled farming was established before its spread further eastward. Importantly, the virtual absence of M458 chromosomes outside Europe speaks against substantial patrilineal gene flow from East Europe to Asia, including to India, at least since the mid-Holocene.

    http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v18/n4/abs/ejhg2009194a.html

  9. Another genetic study that clearly states that since the initial settlement of the Indian sub-continent by modern humans, external genetic contribution has been very limited.

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2156/5/26

    Most of the extant mtDNA boundaries in South and Southwest Asia were likely shaped during the initial settlement of Eurasia by anatomically modern humans
    Mait Metspalu , Toomas Kivisild , Ene Metspalu , Jüri Parik , Georgi Hudjashov , Katrin Kaldma , Piia Serk , Monika Karmin , Doron M Behar , M Thomas P Gilbert , Phillip Endicott , Sarabjit Mastana , Surinder S Papiha , Karl Skorecki , Antonio Torroni  and Richard Villems 
    BMC Genetics 2004, 5:26
    doi:10.1186/1471-2156-5-26

    Since the initial peopling of South and West Asia by anatomically modern humans, when this region may well have provided the initial settlers who colonized much of the rest of Eurasia, the gene flow in and out of India of the maternally transmitted mtDNA has been surprisingly limited.

  10. Peopling of South Asia: investigating the caste–tribe continuum in India

    Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Mait Metspalu, Toomas Kivisild, Richard Villems

    Abstract: In recent years, mtDNA and Y chromosome studies involving human populations from South Asia and the rest of the world have revealed new insights about the peopling of the world by anatomically modern humans during the late Pleistocene, some 40,000–60,000 years ago, over the southern coastal route from Africa. Molecular studies and archaeological record are both largely consistent with autochthonous differentiation of the genetic structure of the caste and tribal populations in South Asia. High level of endogamy created by numerous social boundaries within and between castes and tribes, along with the influence of several evolutionary forces such as genetic drift, fragmentation and long-term isolation, has kept the Indian populations diverse and distant from each other as well as from other continental populations. This review attempts to summarize recent genetic studies on Indian caste and tribal populations with the focus on the information embedded in the socially defined structure of Indian populations.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bies.20525/abstract

  11. Shared and Unique Components of Human Population Structure and Genome-Wide Signals of Positive Selection in South Asia

    Mait Metspalu, Irene Gallego Romero, Bayazit Yunusbayev, Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Chandana Basu Mallick, Georgi Hudjashov, Mari Nelis, Reedik Mägi, Ene Metspalu, Maido Remm, Ramasamy Pitchappan, Lalji Singh, Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Richard Villems and Toomas Kivisild

    Abstract:
    South Asia harbors one of the highest levels genetic diversity in Eurasia, which could be interpreted as a result of its long-term large effective population size and of admixture during its complex demographic history. In contrast to Pakistani populations, populations of Indian origin have been underrepresented in previous genomic scans of positive selection and population structure. Here we report data for more than 600,000 SNP markers genotyped in 142 samples from 30 ethnic groups in India. Combining our results with other available genome-wide data, we show that Indian populations are characterized by two major ancestry components, one of which is spread at comparable frequency and haplotype diversity in populations of South and West Asia and the Caucasus. The second component is more restricted to South Asia and accounts for more than 50% of the ancestry in Indian populations. Haplotype diversity associated with these South Asian ancestry components is significantly higher than that of the components dominating the West Eurasian ancestry palette. Modeling of the observed haplotype diversities suggests that both Indian ancestry components are older than the purported Indo-Aryan invasion 3,500 YBP. Consistent with the results of pairwise genetic distances among world regions, Indians share more ancestry signals with West than with East Eurasians. However, compared to Pakistani populations, a higher proportion of their genes show regionally specific signals of high haplotype homozygosity. Among such candidates of positive selection in India are MSTN and DOK5, both of which have potential implications in lipid metabolism and the etiology of type 2 diabetes.

    http://www.cell.com/AJHG/abstract/S0002-9297(11)00488-5

    Full paper here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/75164625/Indian-Diversity-genetic-study-Metspalu-Gyaneshwer-Chaubey-et-al-AJHG-Dec-9-2011

    Articles that discuss this paper:
    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_new-research-debunks-aryan-invasion-theory_1623744
    http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/indians-are-not-descendants-of-aryans-study/1/163645.html

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-01/special-report/30578749_1_genetic-mutation-disease-population

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