Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 687–697 | Cite as

The Out-of-India hypothesis: What do molecules suggest?

  • Aniruddha Datta-Roy
  • K. Praveen KaranthEmail author


The remarkable geological and evolutionary history of peninsular India has generated much interest in the patterns and processes that might have shaped the current distributions of its endemic biota. In this regard the “Out-of-India” hypothesis, which proposes that rafting peninsular India carried Gondwanan forms to Asia after the break-up of Gondwana super continent, has gained prominence. Here we have reviewed molecular studies undertaken on a range of taxa of supposedly Gondwanan origin to better understand the Out-of-India scenario. This re-evaluation of published molecular studies indicates that there is mounting evidence supporting Out-of-India scenario for various Asian taxa. Nevertheless, in many studies the evidence is inconclusive due to lack of information on the age of relevant nodes. Studies also indicate that not all Gondwanan forms of peninsular India dispersed out of India. Many of these ancient lineages are confined to peninsular India and therefore are relict Gondwanan lineages. Additionally, for some taxa an “Into India” rather than “Out-of-India” scenario better explains their current distribution. To identify the “Out-of-India” component of Asian biota it is imperative that we understand the complex biogeographical history of India. To this end, we propose three oversimplified yet explicit phylogenetic predictions. These predictions can be tested through the use of molecular phylogenetic tools in conjunction with palaeontological and geological data.


Gondwanan biogeography India molecular dating molecular phylogeny 


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© Indian Academy of Sciences 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ecological SciencesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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