Caucasoid Genetics of Tamil Brahmin Populations

Several genetics papers confirm what orientalists have deduced through philology: that the South Indian Brahmins are of immigrant Caucasoid stock, in contrast to the indigenous Negroid Sudras. Thus, the abstract of one paper states Comparison of the Iyers with other Indian and world populations revealed that Iyers form a distinct branch of the Indo-European and Central Asian tree. The Bhargavas of Lucknow, another Brahmin caste group from Uttar Pradesh, did not cluster with the Iyers but clustered with Central Asian populations. The Punjabis of Delhi clustered with European and Middle Eastern populations. [ Balakrishnan et al. ]

Human Biology
Vol. 68, No.4 (August, 1996) pp. 523-37.
Abstract - " Seventy-four randomly sampled Iyers, a Brahmin population of Tamil Nadu and preachers and followers of the Advaita philosophy, living in Madurai, were studied for their HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C, HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, C4A, C4B, and BF polymorphisms and compared with other populations. HLA alleles A1, A11.1, A24, A33, B35, B44, B51, B52, B57, Cw4, Cw6, Cw7, DR4, DR7, DR8, DR10, DR11, DR15, and DQ1 and C4A*3, C4A*4, C4A*6, C4A*Q0, C4B*1, and BF*S were represented in 15% of the samples studied. HLA alleles A25, A69, Cw3, Cw8, B45, B14, B39, B18, B50, and B56 were not identified. Various populations of Tamil Nadu were compared, but the Iyers of Madurai formed a separate cluster with Sourashtrans of Madurai and major group 4 (various Brahmin populations of Tamil Nadu); hill tribes (Irulas, Malayalis, and Badagas) and caste groups in the plains (Kallars and Nadars) formed distinct clusters. Comparison of the Iyers with other Indian and world populations revealed that Iyers form a distinct branch of the Indo-European and Central Asian tree. The Bhargavas of Lucknow, another Brahmin caste group from Uttar Pradesh, did not cluster with the Iyers but clustered with Central Asian populations. The Punjabis of Delhi clustered with European and Middle Eastern populations. Studies on two-locus haplotypes of Iyers revealed unique haplotypes in them (A26-B8, A33-B44, A33-Cw7, A1-B57, B8-DR3, B44-DR7, DR7-DQ2, C4A*32-C4B*Q0, and C4A*6-C4B*2), most of which were not identified in the Bhargavas of Lucknow and the Punjabis of Delhi. Thus it is possible that various Brahmin populations of India differ in their origin, migration, and settlement, although all of them adopted Hinduism in ancient times. A comparison of haplotypes in Iyers with the world population reveals a sharing of haplotypes with Southeast Asian populations. This implies that the ancestors of the Iyers of Madurai, who originated in the Eurasian steppes or Central Asia, might have migrated to India through Southeast Asia, thus developing the prevalent haplotypes en route. "
`HLA affinities of Iyers, a Brahmin population of Tamil Nadu, South India,' K. Balakrishnan, R. M. Pitchappan, K. Suzuki, U. S. Kumar, R. Santhakumari and K. Tokunaga. ( Unit of Immunogenetics, School of Biological Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India ) Human Biology. 68 (4) pp. 523-37, August, 1996.

Tissue Antigens
Vol. 30, No.3, (September 1987) p.113-8.
Abstract - " HLA-A, B antigen and haplotype frequencies were studied in four different caste groups of Tamil Nadu living in Madurai. A total number of 101 Nadars, 36 Kallars, 54 Iyers and 57 Telugu-speaking Naidus were studied. HLA A3 and B15 were significantly higher in Nadars; A10 & B8 in Kallars and Aw19, B12 & B35 in Iyers. HLA A-B haplotypes A10-B7, A28-B17 & A24-B- were characteristic of Nadars; A10-B8 & A1-B-, Kallars; Aw19-B12 & A1-B15, Iyers and A2-B-, Naidus. Negative linkage disequilibria for Aw19-B7, A28-B15 & A9-B51 were significant in Nadars; A1-B5, A1-B12 & Aw19-B- in Iyers and A2-B17 in Naidus. Heterogeneity chi-square based on antigen frequency and genetic distance also suggest the heterogeneous nature of the population of South India. Will these caste groups with such diverse haplotypic combinations differ from one another in their immune response and susceptibility to a given epidemic or infection? "
` HLA antigens in South India: II. Selected caste groups of Tamil Nadu,' R. Rajasekar, V. N. Kakkanaiah and R. M. Pitchappan. ( Department of Immunology, School of Biological Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University, India ), Tissue Antigens. 30(3):113-8, September1987

This is in sharp contrast to the Sudra populations, which are of African descent. Thus, a recent paper summarises the genetic similarity of Telugoid populations with Negroids : "The caste populations of Andhra Pradesh cluster more often with Africans than with Asians or Europeans " [ Bamshad et al. ] Another paper summarises the genetic similarity between Africoids and Sudroids : " Significant ethnic differences in single polymorphisms were found between all groups except for African Blacks-Dravidian Indians, who differed only in their MspI7-16-bp duplication haplotype distribution " [ Sjalandar et al. ]

References

  • `HLA affinities of Iyers, a Brahmin population of Tamil Nadu, South India,' K. Balakrishnan, R. M. Pitchappan, K. Suzuki, U. S. Kumar, R. Santhakumari and K. Tokunaga. ( Unit of Immunogenetics, School of Biological Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India ) Human Biology. 68 (4) pp. 523-37, August, 1996.
  • ` HLA antigens in South India: II. Selected caste groups of Tamil Nadu,' R. Rajasekar, V. N. Kakkanaiah and R. M. Pitchappan. ( Department of Immunology, School of Biological Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University, India ), Tissue Antigens. 30(3):113-8, September1987
  • `mtDNA Variation in Caste Populations,' M. Bamshad et al., Human Biology vol. 68 (1996) p.1.
  • `p53 polymorphisms and haplotypes show distinct differences between major ethnic groups,' A. Sjalander, R.Birgander, N.Saha. L.Beckman, G. Beckman, Human Heredity ( 1996 Jan-Feb ) vol.46 (1): 41-8.

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