Indian link to Tibeto-Burman populations of Bangladesh

 Bangladesh Tibeto-Burman populations carry substantially higher mainland Indian ancestry component than either Northeast Indian or Southeast Asian Tibeto-Burman speaking people, a study conducted by a team of scientists led by Dr Kumarasamy Thangaraj of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) here in collaboration with Dr Nurun Nahar Gazi Sultana and her team from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, has discovered.

The team of scientists have studied the origin and affinity of Bangladeshi tribal populations for the first time using all the genetic systems used for population-based studies. The results of this collaborative study have just been published in PLOS ONE. It has led to several debates on the possible ways of human movement from the India and Myanmar to Bangladesh.

“We carried out a detailed genetic analysis of three major tribal populations (Chakma, Marma and Tripura) from Bangladesh, who speak a branch of Tibeto-Burman (TB) language and compared them with our large data-set from India and Southeast Asia, and observed that the Bangladesh Tibeto-Burman populations carry substantially higher mainland Indian ancestry component than either Northeast Indian or Southeast Asian Tibeto-Burmans speaking people” said Dr. Thangaraj.  “The genetic studies so far on South and Southeast Asian populations suggested that the expansion of Tibeto-Burman population happened very recently in India from Southeast Asia, while we have found a more complex population history of South Asian Tibeto-Burman speakers than it was suggested before and our study stretches the time of migration from mid-Holocene to early Holocene”, said Gyaneshwer Chaubey, a molecular biologist at the Estonian Biocenter, Tartu, Estonia.

“Unlike Austro-Asiatic (Munda) speakers of India, we observed equal roles of both males and females in shaping the Tibeto-Burman expansion in Southern Asia,” said the lead author Dr Nurun Nahar Gazi Sultana.

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