, Volume 80, Issue 3, pp 125-135

High-resolution analysis of Y-chromosomal polymorphisms reveals signatures of population movements from central Asia and West Asia into India

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Abstract

Linguistic evidence suggests that West Asia and Central Asia have been the two major geographical sources of genes in the contemporary Indian gene pool. To test the nature and extent of similarities in the gene pools of these regions we have collected DNA samples from four ethnic populations of northern India, and have screened these samples for a set of 18 Y-chromosome polymorphic markers (12 unique event polymorphisms and six short tandem repeats). These data from Indian populations have been analysed in conjunction with published data from several West Asian and Central Asian populations. Our analyses have revealed traces of population movement from Central Asia and West Asia into India. Two haplogroups, HG-3 and HG-9, which are known to have arisen in the Central Asian region, are found in reasonably high frequencies (41.7% and 14.3% respectively) in the study populations. The ages estimated for these two haplogroups are less in the Indian populations than those estimated from data on Middle Eastern populations. A neighbour-joining tree based on Y-haplogroup frequencies shows that the North Indians are genetically placed between the West Asian and Central Asian populations. This is consistent with gene flow from West Asia and Central Asia into India.