Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Aryan invasion theory questioned

Dr. Metzenberg read he read to the committee, from a 1999 paper by Kivisild, et al. (Current Biology, vol 9 pp.1331-1334):
"A commonly held hypothesis, albeit not the only one, suggests a massive Indo-Aryan invasion to India some 4,000 years ago [1]. Recent limited analysis of maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of Indian populations has been interpreted as supporting this concept [2 and 3]. Here, this interpretation is questioned. We found an extensive deep late Pleistocene genetic link between contemporary Europeans and Indians, provided by the mtDNA haplogroup U, which encompasses roughly a fifth of mtDNA lineages of both populations.Our estimate for this split is close to the suggested time for the peopling of Asia and the first expansion of anatomically modern humans in Eurasia [4, 5, 6, 7 and 8] and likely pre-dates their spread to Europe. Only a small fraction of the �Caucasoid-specific� mtDNA lineages found in Indian populations can be ascribed to a relatively recent admixture...
Thus, we have shown that the overwhelming majority of the so-called western-Eurasian-specific mtDNA lineages in Indian populations, estimated here to be carried by more than a hundred million contemporary Indians, belong in fact to an Indian-specific variety of haplogroup U of a late Pleistocene origin. The latter exhibits a direct common phylogenetic origin with its sister groups found in western Eurasia (Figure 1), but it should not be interpreted in terms of a recent admixture of western Caucasoids with Indians caused by a putative Indo-Aryan invasion 3,000 �4,000 years BP. From the deep time depth of the split between the predominant Indian and European haplogroup U varieties, it could be speculated that haplogroup U arose in neither of the two regions. This split could have already happened in Africa, for example, in Ethiopia, where haplogroup U was recently described [21]."
The author is Director, Sarasvati Research Centre. Email: kalyan97@gmail.com Dr. S. Kalyanaraman www.ivarta.com

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