Caste and Genes Study By National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG)

National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG) in West Bengal had published a report in the National Academy of Sciences Journal in 2016, on how genetic data helped scientists to trace the emergence of rigid caste system to about 1,600 years ago during the Gupta period when a lot of social transformations took place.

Aspirants would find this topic helpful in the IAS Exam.

What were Some of the Major Findings of the Study Conducted by NIBMG?

Some of the findings are given below.

  1. Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific ethnic group, class or social group. Researchers in NIBMG found that transition from free intermarriage to endogamy took place in India 1600 years ago i.e. 70 generations back.
  2. The given time frame indicates that the transition took place during the times of Gupta Dynasty. The Gupta Empire covered a major part of Indian Subcontinent with Pataliputra as the capital.
  3. Male members of Upper Caste communities have had off-spring with other communities, but the reverse scenario was not found.

The Study also brings to light the complex ancestral lineages. The ancestry of India was not unipolar; the four different types of lineages associated with mainland India are listed below.

  1. Ancestral North Indians (ANI)
  2. Ancestral South Indians (ASI)
  3. Austro-Asiatic.
  4. Tibeto-Burman (North-East India).

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Which were the Samples used for Conducting the Research by NIBMG?

The samples used had variations in caste, linguistic and geographical locations. Upper caste samples were collected from people belonging to states of Gujarat, West Bengal, Maharashtra. Central and East Indian tribes chosen were Ho, Santhal and Birhor. The Dravidian communities involved were Pallan, Irula. From Andaman and Nicobar Islands Jarawa and Onge tribes were used for the study.

What is the Main Difference in the Study Concluded by Earlier Researchers and Researchers from (NIBMG) on Ancestral Lineage of Mainland India?

The earlier studies by Indian and US scientists had indicated that Ancestral lineage of Mainland India was divided into just two groups Ancestral North Indians (ANI) and Ancestral South Indians (ASI). But the study conducted by NIBMG concluded that ancestral lineage of Mainland India was divided into 4 groups. Apart from ANI and ASI, the two additional groups are Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman.


The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2021.

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