Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Tribes in NE link India, SE Asia


December 26, 2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Dec 25: The Northeast India provides the signatures of genetic link between Indian and Southeast Asian populations.
A joint study by the city-based Biological Anthropology Unit of the Indian Statistical Institute and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology
reveals that Austro-Asiatic Khasi tribes of Northeast India represent a genetic
continuity between the populations of South and Southeast Asia. The study suggested that India could have been a major corridor for the movement of populations from India to East/Southeast Asia.
Northeast India, the only region which currently forms a land bridge between the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, has been proposed for long as an important corridor for the initial peopling of East Asia. Given that the Austro-Asiatic linguistic family is considered to be the oldest and spoken by certain tribes in India, Northeast India and entire Southeast Asia, the city-based researchers from ISI and CCMB expected that populations of this family from Northeast India should provide the signatures of genetic link between Indian and Southeast Asian populations.
The scientists studied eight groups of the Austro-Asiatic Khasi from Northeast India and the neighbouring Garo and compared with that of other relevant Asian populations. The results suggested that the Austro-Asiatic Khasi tribes of Northeast India represent a genetic continuity between the populations of South and Southeast Asia, thereby advocating that Northeast India could have been a major corridor for the movement of populations from India to East/Southeast Asia.
The researchers, B Mohan Reddy, Vikrant Kumar, K Thangaraj and Lalji Singh, said the Indian subcontinent had been considered as a major corridor for the migration of human populations to East Asia. This region is inhabited by populations belonging to Indo-European, Tibeto-Burman and Austro-Asiatic linguistic families.
"Whereas Indo-European populations are also found in other parts of India, West Asia and Europe but absent in East Asia, Tibeto-Burman populations are otherwise found only in East Asia. However, Austro-Asiatic speakers, hypothesised as probably the earliest settlers in the Indian subcontinent are also found in other parts of India as well as in East/Southeast Asia.

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