'Lakshadweep genetically linked to Maldives, Lanka'

The first genetic study of Lakshadweep islanders by a team of researchers from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad and Mangalore University has suggested that a majority of human ancestry in Lakshadweep is largely derived from South Asia with minor influences from East and West Eurasia.

The results of a genetic study on the Lakshadweep islanders have been published in Scientific Reports on May 6, 2019.

Dr K Thangaraj of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology has said that Lakshadweep islands are located between Africa and South Western part of India.

“Through earlier studies, we know that early human migration from Africa to Andaman and Australia happened through western coast of India. So, we presumed that Lakshadweep islands might have played a major role in early human migration and expected the presence of genetic signatures of ancient people, such as Andamanese and Australian aboriginals.”

Dr M S Mustak, first author of the study and associate professor of Department of Applied Zoology in Mangalore University, said, “We analysed DNA samples of 557 individuals from eight major islands for mitochondrial DNA and 166 individuals for Y chromosome markers. We found a strong founder effect for both paternal and maternal lineages - a sign that the island population had limited genetic mixing”.

The authors have studied eight major islands of Lakshadweep — Agatti, Andrott, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kiltan and Minicoy and demonstrated a close genetic link of Lakshadweep islanders with Maldives, Sri Lanka and India.

According to a press release, the published paper can be found online at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-43384-3 for details. 

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