Genetic admixture studies on four in situ evolved, two migrant and twenty-one ethnic populations of Tamil Nadu, south India
Suhasini, G.; Sonaa, E.; Shila, S.; Srikumari, C.R.; Jayaraman, G.; Ramesh, A.
Journal of Genetics 90(2): 191-202
ISSN/ISBN: 0022-1333 PMID: 21869467 DOI: 10.1007/s12041-011-0067-9
We analysed the genetic structure of ≈ 1000 samples representing 27 ethnic groups settled in Tamil Nadu, south India, derived from two linguistic families (Dravidians and Indo-Europeans) representing four religious groups (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Jainism) using 11 mtDNA markers. Out of 27 ethnic groups, four are in situ populations (Anglo-Indian, Labbai Muslim, Nadar Christian and south Indian Jain) and two are migrants (Gypsy and north Indian Jain) from north India to Tamil Nadu, and 21 are native ethnic groups. Six of the markers we used were monomorphic (HaeIII663, HpaI3592, AluI5176, AluI7025, AluI13262, 9-bp deletion) and five markers were polymorphic (DdeI10394, AluI10397, HinfI12308, HincII13259 and HaeIII16517). Haplogroup frequencies, genetic affinities and admixture analysis are based on the genotype data of polymorphic markers observed in these populations. Haplogroup frequencies indicate that various ethnic groups entered Tamil Nadu during different time periods. Genetic affinities and admixture estimates revealed that the ethnic groups possessing advanced knowledge of farming cluster in a branch (C), and could be the late arrived settlers as agriculture, was introduced to this region at about 5 to 3 thousand years ago. In situ ethnic groups appear to have arisen at various times as a result of the prevailing dominant socio-cultural forces. Hierarchical Hindu caste system created many ethnic groups in the history of its existence; some of them became isolated for considerable period of time. Over all, among Tamil ethnic groups, in spite of caste systems' rigidity, built in flexibility in the system in the form of hypergamy and hypogamy had allowed maternal gene flow between them.