Sunday, November 27, 2011

Genetic Diversity in Indian Populations and Its Health Implications


Lalji Singh, PhD, Director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India,  has been undertaking a study on the evolution of human populations, focusing specifically on genetic diseases.  While a popular focus for many researchers,  specific data on the origin and frequencies of genetic diseases in India has been relatively sparse.  India has "one of the most genetically diverse populations in the world."  This diversity is represented by the anthropologically well-identified 4,635  populations that share little to no gene flow between them.  This is a result of the culutrual, social, and geographical boundaries that have bolstered the propensity of interbreeding within individual populations.  Taking 132 samples from 25 of these major populations, each group representing a major piece of Indian life, location, and culture,  Singh analyzed and determined that there were originally two gentically independent divergent populations.  Having the most similar genetic composition to the Middle Easterners, Central Asians, and Europeans are the Ancestral Northern Indians while the other major group, the Ancestral Southern Indians, have a genetic affinity that aligns solely with the populations currently within the region.


1 comment:

  1. It is fascinating to see that in a relatively short amount of time that 4,635 diverse populations could emerge in the same country from just two populations. It is remarkable the amount of variability and diversity we can observe in just one small part of the world.