Human Genetics

, Volume 120, Issue 4, pp 543–551 | Cite as

A shared Y-chromosomal heritage between Muslims and Hindus in India

  • Ramana Gutala
  • Denise R. Carvalho-Silva
  • Li Jin
  • Bryndis Yngvadottir
  • Vasanthi Avadhanula
  • Khaja Nanne
  • Lalji Singh
  • Ranajit Chakraborty
  • Chris Tyler-Smith
Original Investigation

Abstract

Arab forces conquered the Indus Delta region in 711 AD and, although a Muslim state was established there, their influence was barely felt in the rest of South Asia at that time. By the end of the tenth century, Central Asian Muslims moved into India from the northwest and expanded throughout the subcontinent. Muslim communities are now the largest minority religion in India, comprising more than 138 million people in a predominantly Hindu population of over one billion. It is unclear whether the Muslim expansion in India was a purely cultural phenomenon or had a genetic impact on the local population. To address this question from a male perspective, we typed eight microsatellite loci and 16 binary markers from the Y chromosome in 246 Muslims from Andhra Pradesh, and compared them to published data on 4,204 males from East Asia, Central Asia, other parts of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, the Middle East, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. We find that the Muslim populations in general are genetically closer to their non-Muslim geographical neighbors than to other Muslims in India, and that there is a highly significant correlation between genetics and geography (but not religion). Our findings indicate that, despite the documented practice of marriage between Muslim men and Hindu women, Islamization in India did not involve large-scale replacement of Hindu Y chromosomes. The Muslim expansion in India was predominantly a cultural change and was not accompanied by significant gene flow, as seen in other places, such as China and Central Asia.

Supplementary material

439_2006_234_MOESM1_ESM.doc (484 kb)
Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramana Gutala
    • 1
  • Denise R. Carvalho-Silva
    • 2
  • Li Jin
    • 3
  • Bryndis Yngvadottir
    • 2
  • Vasanthi Avadhanula
    • 4
  • Khaja Nanne
    • 4
  • Lalji Singh
    • 5
  • Ranajit Chakraborty
    • 3
  • Chris Tyler-Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.The Wellcome Trust Sanger InstituteHinxtonUK
  3. 3.Center for Genome informationUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Deccan College of Medical SciencesHyderabadIndia
  5. 5.Center for Cellular and Molecular BiologyHyderabadIndia

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