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1.  Austro-Asiatic Tribes of Northeast India Provide Hitherto Missing Genetic Link between South and Southeast Asia 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(11):e1141.
Northeast India, the only region which currently forms a land bridge between the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, has been proposed as an important corridor for the initial peopling of East Asia. Given that the Austro-Asiatic linguistic family is considered to be the oldest and spoken by certain tribes in India, Northeast India and entire Southeast Asia, we expect that populations of this family from Northeast India should provide the signatures of genetic link between Indian and Southeast Asian populations. In order to test this hypothesis, we analyzed mtDNA and Y-Chromosome SNP and STR data of the eight groups of the Austro-Asiatic Khasi from Northeast India and the neighboring Garo and compared with that of other relevant Asian populations. The results suggest that the Austro-Asiatic Khasi tribes of Northeast India represent a genetic continuity between the populations of South and Southeast Asia, thereby advocating that northeast India could have been a major corridor for the movement of populations from India to East/Southeast Asia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001141
PMCID: PMC2065843  PMID: 17989774
2.  Y-chromosome evidence suggests a common paternal heritage of Austro-Asiatic populations 
Background
The Austro-Asiatic linguistic family, which is considered to be the oldest of all the families in India, has a substantial presence in Southeast Asia. However, the possibility of any genetic link among the linguistic sub-families of the Indian Austro-Asiatics on the one hand and between the Indian and the Southeast Asian Austro-Asiatics on the other has not been explored till now. Therefore, to trace the origin and historic expansion of Austro-Asiatic groups of India, we analysed Y-chromosome SNP and STR data of the 1222 individuals from 25 Indian populations, covering all the three branches of Austro-Asiatic tribes, viz. Mundari, Khasi-Khmuic and Mon-Khmer, along with the previously published data on 214 relevant populations from Asia and Oceania.
Results
Our results suggest a strong paternal genetic link, not only among the subgroups of Indian Austro-Asiatic populations but also with those of Southeast Asia. However, maternal link based on mtDNA is not evident. The results also indicate that the haplogroup O-M95 had originated in the Indian Austro-Asiatic populations ~65,000 yrs BP (95% C.I. 25,442 – 132,230) and their ancestors carried it further to Southeast Asia via the Northeast Indian corridor. Subsequently, in the process of expansion, the Mon-Khmer populations from Southeast Asia seem to have migrated and colonized Andaman and Nicobar Islands at a much later point of time.
Conclusion
Our findings are consistent with the linguistic evidence, which suggests that the linguistic ancestors of the Austro-Asiatic populations have originated in India and then migrated to Southeast Asia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-47
PMCID: PMC1851701  PMID: 17389048
4.  Global Patterns in Human Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Variation Caused by Spatial Instability of the Local Cultural Processes 
PLoS Genetics  2006;2(4):e53.
Because of the widespread phenomenon of patrilocality, it is hypothesized that Y-chromosome variants tend to be more localized geographically than those of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Empirical evidence confirmatory to this hypothesis was subsequently provided among certain patrilocal and matrilocal groups of Thailand, which conforms to the isolation by distance mode of gene diffusion. However, we expect intuitively that the patterns of genetic variability may not be consistent with the above hypothesis among populations with different social norms governing the institution of marriage, particularly among those that adhere to strict endogamy rules. We test the universality of this hypothesis by analyzing Y-chromosome and mtDNA data in three different sets of Indian populations that follow endogamy rules to varying degrees. Our analysis of the Indian patrilocal and the matrilocal groups is not confirmatory to the sex-specific variation observed among the tribes of Thailand. Our results indicate spatial instability of the impact of different cultural processes on the genetic variability, resulting in the lack of universality of the hypothesized pattern of greater Y-chromosome variation when compared to that of mtDNA among the patrilocal populations.
Synopsis
In most human societies, women traditionally move to their husband's home after marriage, and these societies are thus “patrilocal,” but in a few “matrilocal” societies, men move to their wife's home. These social customs are expected to influence the patterns of genetic variation. They should lead to a localization of male-specific Y-chromosomal variants and wide dispersal of female-specific mitochondrial DNA variants in patrilocal societies and vice versa in matrilocal societies. These predicted patterns have indeed been observed in previous studies of populations from Thailand. Indian societies, however, are endogamous, so marriage should always take place within a population, and these different patterns of genetic variation should not build up. The authors have now analyzed ten patrilocal and five matrilocal Indian populations, and find that there is indeed little difference between the patrilocal and matrilocal societies. The authors therefore conclude that patterns of genetic variation in humans are not universal, but depend on local cultural practices.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020053
PMCID: PMC1435684  PMID: 16617372

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