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Ann Hum Biol. 2003 Sep-Oct;30(5):570-8.

Genetic profile based upon 15 microsatellites of four caste groups of the eastern Indian state, Bihar.

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  • 1DNA Typing Unit, Central Forensic Science Laboratory, West Bengal, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The formation of caste groups among the Hindu community and the practice of endogamy exert a great impact on the genetic structure and diversity of the Indian population. Allele frequency data of 15 microsatellite loci clearly portray the genetic diversity and relatedness among four socio-culturally advanced caste groups: Brahmin, Bhumihar, Rajput and Kayasth of Caucasoid ethnicity of Bihar.

AIM:

The study seeks to understand the impact of the man-made caste system on the genetic profile of the four major caste groups of Bihar.

METHODS AND PROCEDURE:

Computation of average heterozygosity, most frequent allele, allele diversity and coefficient of gene differentiation (Gst), along with genetic distance (DA)and principal coordinate analysis were performed to assess intra-population and inter-population diversity.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS:

The average Gst value for all the loci was 0.012 +/- 0.0033, and the level of average heterozygosity was approximately 75.5%, indicating genetic similarity and intra-population diversity. Genetic distance (DA) values and the phylogenetic tree along with other higher caste groups of India indicate the relative distance between them.

CONCLUSION:

The present study clearly depicts the genetic profile of these caste groups, their inherent closeness in the past, and the impact of the imposed caste system that later restricted the gene flow. The study highlights the status of Bhumihar and Kayasth in the Hindu caste system. The former was found clustering with the Brahmin group (as expected, since Bhumihar is known to be a subclass of Brahmin), whereas the distance between the Brahmin and Kayasth caste groups was found to be large. North-eastern Indian Mongoloids form a separate cluster.

PMID:
12959898
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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