Monday, 8 June 2009

The story of false Jews in Kothareddypalem

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Genetic studies carried out by the Indian Statistical Institute in collaboration with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology have nailed the claim of some people in Kothareddypalem in Guntur district that they are one of the lost tribes of Israel.
The biological anthropology unit of the Indian Statistical Institute has analysed DNA of 45 caste ad tribal populations of the State with the active collaboration of the CCMB. The samples include two independent samples of Madiga community from Guntur and other areas.
"Examination of molecular genetic data (mtDNA, Y and autosomal) of Madiga population of the village vis-à-vis the genetic data available on the Jewish populations showed that they did not have any genetic affinity with the Jews," Prof B Mohan Reddy of ISI told this correspondent.
He said each of the three sets of data available with the Institute suggested that there was really nothing in the genetic data that drew Madigas closer to Jewish groups than to other AP groups, both castes and tribes.
There is one common genetic feature specific to Y-chromosome (Haplogroup J2) between the Jews and the Madigas but this genetic feature is ubiquitous to most AP Populations and in fact even in the frequency of this haplogroup Madigas are closer to neighbouring AP groups than to Jews.
"There are of course other genetic features that are frequent in AP groups including Madigas but absent in Jews. Our earlier studies based on autosomal genetic markers on 27 populations of Andhra Pradesh showed that the people of the State are genetically homogeneous, suggesting relative closeness of Madigas to other caste and tribal groups from the region," he said.
Given the genetic data with the Institute on Madigas there is very little that can substantiate the claims of this community. However, he said the institute would not contest the claim of the community on cultural affinity to the Jews.
The Madiga community in Kothareddypalem in the outskirts of Guntur numbering 50 families has been claiming that it belonged to the Ephraim tribe. It has been contesting that it was one of the 12 ancient Jewish tribes who were in search of the Promised Land with Prophet Moses.

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