New Delhi: A genetic study has found that Indians are the ancestors of the Chinese and other East Asian populations.
The study, a joint project of 10 Asian countries, found that India received a wave of migration from Africa 60,000-70,000 years ago and these early humans subsequently moved to East and Southeast Asia. The earlier belief was that humans from Africa reached India and East and Southeast Asia separately.
The study has important implications, especially in the understanding of human migratory patterns and in the investigation of genetics and disease.
The findings of the five-year study — conducted by a group of 90 scientists, including those from India, in a consortium of 40 Asian laboratories under the Human Genome Organisation — have been published in the journal Science.
The study analysed genetic data of 1,900 individuals representing 73 population groups. The findings showed that Asian genetic ancestry correlated highly with ethnic and linguistic groups and “considerable gene flow was observed among sub-populations of the clusters” that were studied; the clusters included “groups believed to practice endogamy (marriage within a group) based on linguistics, cultural and ethic information”.
“This large study establishes that Indians are ancestors of the Japanese, Chinese and all other East Asians. All these populations have a common genetic origin and it shows that India represents a microcosm of Asia’s genetic diversity,” said Samir Brahmachari, director-general, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research — a participant in the study.