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Genetic affinities of the Andaman Islanders, a vanishing human population.
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Genetic affinities of the Andaman Islanders, a vanishing human population.

Author: K Thangaraj Affiliation: Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500 007, 440 006, Nagpur, India.L SinghAG ReddyVR RaoSC SehgalAll authors
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Current biology : CB, 2003 Jan 21; 13(2): 86-93
Summary:
BACKGROUND: The Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal are inhabited by hunter-gatherers of unknown origin, now on the verge of extinction. The Andamanese and other Asian small-statured peoples, traditionally known as "Negritos," resemble African pygmies. However, it is generally believed that they descend from the early Australo-Melanesian settlers of Southeast Asia and that their resemblance to some Africans is due  Read more...
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Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: K Thangaraj Affiliation: Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500 007, 440 006, Nagpur, India.; L Singh; AG Reddy; VR Rao; SC Sehgal; PA Underhill; M Pierson; IG Frame; E Hagelberg
ISSN:0960-9822
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 112009350
Awards:

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal are inhabited by hunter-gatherers of unknown origin, now on the verge of extinction. The Andamanese and other Asian small-statured peoples, traditionally known as "Negritos," resemble African pygmies. However, it is generally believed that they descend from the early Australo-Melanesian settlers of Southeast Asia and that their resemblance to some Africans is due to adaptation to a similar environment, rather than shared origins. RESULTS: We analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences and RFLP polymorphisms, and Y chromosome biallelic markers and microsatellites, in present-day Andamanese of the Onge, Jarawa, and Great Andamanese tribes, and of inhabitants of the neighboring Nicobar Islands. We also analyzed mtDNA sequences from Andamanese hair samples collected by an ethnographer during 1906-1908. Living Andamanese exhibit low genetic variability that is consistent with their small population size and reproductive isolation. CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that the Andamanese have closer affinities to Asian than to African populations and suggest that they are the descendants of the early Palaeolithic colonizers of Southeast Asia. In contrast, the Nicobarese have genetic affinities to groups widely distributed throughout Asia today, presumably descended from Neolithic agriculturalists.

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