Y-chromosome evidence suggests a common paternal heritage of Austro-Asiatic populations

Molecular Anthropology Group, Biological Anthropology Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Hubsiguda, Hyderabad, India. <>
BMC Evolutionary Biology (Impact Factor: 3.41). 02/2007; 7(1):47. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-7-47
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Austro-Asiatic linguistic family, which is considered to be the oldest of all the families in India, has a substantial presence in Southeast Asia. However, the possibility of any genetic link among the linguistic sub-families of the Indian Austro-Asiatics on the one hand and between the Indian and the Southeast Asian Austro-Asiatics on the other has not been explored till now. Therefore, to trace the origin and historic expansion of Austro-Asiatic groups of India, we analysed Y-chromosome SNP and STR data of the 1222 individuals from 25 Indian populations, covering all the three branches of Austro-Asiatic tribes, viz. Mundari, Khasi-Khmuic and Mon-Khmer, along with the previously published data on 214 relevant populations from Asia and Oceania.
Our results suggest a strong paternal genetic link, not only among the subgroups of Indian Austro-Asiatic populations but also with those of Southeast Asia. However, maternal link based on mtDNA is not evident. The results also indicate that the haplogroup O-M95 had originated in the Indian Austro-Asiatic populations ~65,000 yrs BP (95% C.I. 25,442-132,230) and their ancestors carried it further to Southeast Asia via the Northeast Indian corridor. Subsequently, in the process of expansion, the Mon-Khmer populations from Southeast Asia seem to have migrated and colonized Andaman and Nicobar Islands at a much later point of time.
Our findings are consistent with the linguistic evidence, which suggests that the linguistic ancestors of the Austro-Asiatic populations have originated in India and then migrated to Southeast Asia.

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    • "Two major branches of the Austroasiatic language spoken in India are: (i) Munda branch, which is mostly found in eastern, north-eastern and central India, and (ii) Khasi-Aslian branch, mostly spoken in Meghalaya and Nicobar Island (Diffloth 2009). There are two views on the origin and migration of this language (van Driem 2001; Fuller 2007; Kumar et al. 2007; Chaubey et al. 2011). The first view states Southeast Asia as its place of origin and their subsequent migration to South Asia during the Neolithic (Higham 2003), whereas pre-Neolithic origins and dispersal of this language family from South Asia was hypothesized by the second view (Fuller 2007). "
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