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Study gives insight into ancestral population of India

india Updated: Sep 29, 2009 11:32 IST

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The first-ever genome-scale analysis of the anthropological history of the Indian people has established that the population is a mixture of two ancestral groups and that they are vulnerable to certain genetic disorders.

Scientists from India and the US have shown that India is genetically not a single large population but a combination of smaller isolated populations.

"We understand that incidence of genetic diseases among Indians is different from populations in the rest of the world," scientists from Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad and Harvard Medical School said in a study published in scientific journal 'Nature'.

They have also predicted that there will an excess of 'recessive diseases' (single gene disorder that occur only when an individual carries two malfunctioning copies of the relevant genes) in India which should be possible to screen and map genetically.

"This will have a huge ramifications in the drug development and clinical aspect in the treatment of these diseases," the scientists said.

The team found strong evidence that all Indian groups are mixed and are descendants of two distinct groups - Ancestral North Indians (ANI), who are genetically similar to western Eurasians, and Ancestral South Indians (ASI), who possess a distinct genetic pattern not found anywhere else in the world.