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A genetic chronology for the Indian Subcontinent points to heavily sex-biased dispersals

Silva, Marina, Oliveira, Marisa, Vieira, Daniel, Brandão, Andreia, Rito, Teresa, Pereira, Joana B., Fraser, Ross M., Hudson, Bob, Gandini, Francesca, Edwards, Ceiridwen J., Pala, Maria, Koch, John, Wilson, James F., Pereira, Luísa, Richards, Martin B. and Soares, Pedro (2017) A genetic chronology for the Indian Subcontinent points to heavily sex-biased dispersals. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17 (1). ISSN 1471-2148

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Abstract

Background
India is a patchwork of tribal and non-tribal populations that speak many different languages from various language families. Indo-European, spoken across northern and central India, and also in Pakistan and Bangladesh, has been frequently connected to the so-called “Indo-Aryan invasions” from Central Asia ~3.5 ka and the establishment of the caste system, but the extent of immigration at this time remains extremely controversial. South India, on the other hand, is dominated by Dravidian languages. India displays a high level of endogamy due to its strict social boundaries, and high genetic drift as a result of long-term isolation which, together with a very complex history, makes the genetic study of Indian populations challenging.

Results
We have combined a detailed, high-resolution mitogenome analysis with summaries of autosomal data and Y-chromosome lineages to establish a settlement chronology for the Indian Subcontinent. Maternal lineages document the earliest settlement ~55–65 ka (thousand years ago), and major population shifts in the later Pleistocene that explain previous dating discrepancies and neutrality violation. Whilst current genome-wide analyses conflate all dispersals from Southwest and Central Asia, we were able to tease out from the mitogenome data distinct dispersal episodes dating from between the Last Glacial Maximum to the Bronze Age. Moreover, we found an extremely marked sex bias by comparing the different genetic systems.

Conclusions
Maternal lineages primarily reflect earlier, pre-Holocene processes, and paternal lineages predominantly episodes within the last 10 ka. In particular, genetic influx from Central Asia in the Bronze Age was strongly male-driven, consistent with the patriarchal, patrilocal and patrilineal social structure attributed to the inferred pastoralist early Indo-European society. This was part of a much wider process of Indo-European expansion, with an ultimate source in the Pontic-Caspian region, which carried closely related Y-chromosome lineages, a smaller fraction of autosomal genome-wide variation and an even smaller fraction of mitogenomes across a vast swathe of Eurasia between 5 and 3.5 ka.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mitochondrial DNA, Indian Subcontinent, Genome-wide, Y chromosome, Neolithic, Indo-European
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Schools: School of Applied Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sally Hughes
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2017 08:09
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2017 08:46
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/31666

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