CASTE AND VARNA – PART 6: DNA STUDIES OF CASTE

253. Vikrant Kumar and his colleagues found that many of the upper castes of the Northeast India,like Rajbanshi, Ahom, Chutiya etc. have descended from Mongoloid tribes of that region.

254. Other DNA studies found that the all the Indian castes share same DNAs and their DNAs vary more because of geographical distance rather than because of caste levels.

255. This made clear that division of Indian population in endogamous castes is a recent development hence its effect is not visible at DNA level.

256. Two of the scheduled castes namely Pallan and Paraiyan were compared genetically with two Brahmana castes Iyer and Iyengar, in Tamil Nadu.

257. The results of this study corroborated well with earlier studies and showed that all the four castes studied belonged genetically to the same lineages (Vijaya 2008).

258. Analysis of DNAs from 752 individuals belonging to seventeen tribes and four non tribal groups from all over India by Cordaux et al (2003) revealed that caste and tribal groups of both north and south India are genetically similar with respect to mtDNA variation. (Cordaux, R.et al, 2004)

259. Sawarkar Sharma and others (2005) found that Indo-European speakers and Dravidian speakers of India were both descendants of a deep rooted very old Indian mtDNA lineage. (Sharma, S.et al, Human mtDNA hypervariable regions, HVR I and II, hint at deep common maternal founder and subsequent maternal gene flow in Indian population groups, Journal of Human Genetics 2005, 50:497)

260. His another work proved tribal origin of many brahmins.

261. Same authors (Sharma 2009) in another genetic study found that Brahmin upper castes and Dravidian speakers as well as the tribal people all share the R1a1 haplogroup which was earlier thought to represent Aryan invasion and a marker of Brahmana males.

262. The study proved that such assumptions like Aryan invasion cannot be sustained on the basis of genetic findings; and the Brahmanas as well as the south Indian tribes belong to the same Indian genetic stock. ( Sharma, S.et al, The Indian origin of paternal haplogroup R1a1 substantiates the autochthonous origin of Brahmins and the caste system, Journal of Human Genetics2009, 54: 47 – 55.)

263. Kivisild et al (2003) discussed how the genetic evidence shows that there is no genetic difference between the tribal and the caste populations of India.

264. The latter conclusion was further supported by Ramana et al (2001), who after comparative genetic study of the tribal and caste populations of Andhra Pradesh demonstrated that no phylogenic genetic difference existed between the tribal and the caste population. ( Ramana, G. V. et al, Y-Chromosome SNP haplotypes suggest evidence of gene flow among caste, tribe and the migrant Siddi populations of Andhra Pradesh, South India, Eur. J. Hum. Genetics 2001,9: 695-700.)

265. Kashyap et al (2006) in a large and extensive genetic study comprising 54 castes and tribes spread all over India concluded that their analyses failed to reveal any genetic groups that correlate to language, geography, ethnicity or socio-cultural affiliation of populations.

266. This implies common ancestry of all Indians and only late formation of modern Indian population groups. (Kashyap, V. K.et al., Genetic structure of Indian populations based on fifteen autosomal microsatellite loci, BMC Genet.2006; 7: 28. doi: 10.1186/1471-2156-7-28.)

267. Exactly same conclusion was derived from DNA study of Krithika and colleagues(2009) (Krithika, S.et al, A microsatellite study to disentangle the ambiguity of linguistic, geographic,ethnic and genetic influences on tribes of India to get a better clarity of the antiquity and peopling of South Asia, Am J Phys Anthropol 2009, 139(4): 533-46.)

268. By examination of DNAs of Roma (Gypsies) of Europe, it was found that when the Romasleft India about 2000 years back, they did not have caste. However, they have developed into many hierarchical endogamous castes more recently during their stay in Europe.(Gresham, D.et al, Origins and divergence of Roma (Gypsies), AJHG 2001, 69(6):1314-1331)

269. On the other hand, examination of DNA of Jews reveals that there is clear evidence of caste system on the Jew DNAs.

270. The Jewish priest caste Cohanim displays different DNA lineage than others.(Thomas, M.G. et al, Origins of Old Testament Priests, Nature 1998, 394(6689): 130 140. Hammer, Michael F; Doron M Behar and 7 others (2009-08-08). “Extended Y chromosome haplotypes resolve multiple and unique lineages of the Jewish priesthood”. Hum Genet (Springer); Clark, David (2002).”Cohanim Modal Haplotype (CMH) finds the Ten Lost Tribes! (among Iraqi Kurds, Hungarians, and Armenians)”.Archived from the original on 2005-03-22. http://web.archive.org/web/20050322111222/ http://www.geocities.com/hrhdavid/English/frames/index.html Zoossmann-Diskin, Avshalom (2001). “Are today’s Jewish priests descended from the oldones?”. Journal of Comparative Human Biology 51 (2-3): 156 – 162)

271. The Lemba is a Bantu speaking tribe of Southern Africa. Groups within this tribe claiming decent from Cohen caste have been proven by genetic studies to belong to the Cohen caste of the Jews. (Thomas, M.G. et al., Y Chromosomes Traveling South: The Cohen Model Haplotype and theOrigins of the Lemba — the Black Jews of Southern Africa, Am. J. Hum. Genet., 66:674-687, 2000.)

272. This distinction is important. Roma also left India, but their ancestry cannot betraced back to any caste of India. That implies that Indian castes are new entities, and did not exist when the Roma left India.

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