Gene differentiation among ten endogamous groups of West Bengal, India

R. Chakraborty, H. Walter, B. N. Mukherjee, K. C. Malhotra, P. Sauber, S. Banerjee, M. Roy

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Ten endogamous populations of West Bengal, India have been surveyed for genetic variation in 12 systems. These populations encompass all social ranks in the caste hierarchy and cover almost the entire geographic area of the state. Gene diversity analysis suggests that these groups exhibit significant allele frequency variation at all but three loci. The overall genetic difference is not, however, in accord with the classification based on caste. Two low‐ranking scheduled caste groups are, in fact, in close proximity with the high‐caste ones, suggesting evidence of past generations of gene flow among them. Three different clusters of groups emerge from the present data, providing support for the anthropologic assertion that in Bengal Proto‐Australoid, Caucasoid, and Mongoloid racial elements generally coexist. However, these three components are not uniformly present in all groups. Geographic separation of the groups is a strong determinant of the gene differentiation that exists among these populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-309
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1986


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