Author(s): Balakrishnan K, Pitchappan RM, Suzuki K, Kumar US, Santhakumari R,
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Abstract Seventy-four randomly sampled Iyers, a Brahmin population of Tamil Nadu and preachers and followers of the Advaita philosophy, living in Madurai, were studied for their HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C, HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, C4A, C4B, and BF polymorphisms and compared with other populations. HLA alleles A1, A11.1, A24, A33, B35, B44, B51, B52, B57, Cw4, Cw6, Cw7, DR4, DR7, DR8, DR10, DR11, DR15, and DQ1 and C4A*3, C4A*4, C4A*6, C4A*Q0, C4B*1, and BF*S were represented in 15\% of the samples studied. HLA alleles A25, A69, Cw3, Cw8, B45, B14, B39, B18, B50, and B56 were not identified. Various populations of Tamil Nadu were compared, but the Iyers of Madurai formed a separate cluster with Sourashtrans of Madurai and major group 4 (various Brahmin populations of Tamil Nadu); hill tribes (Irulas, Malayalis, and Badagas) and caste groups in the plains (Kallars and Nadars) formed distinct clusters. Comparison of the Iyers with other Indian and world populations revealed that Iyers form a distinct branch of the Indo-European and Central Asian tree. The Bhargavas of Lucknow, another Brahmin caste group from Uttar Pradesh, did not cluster with the Iyers but clustered with Central Asian populations. The Punjabis of Delhi clustered with European and Middle Eastern populations. Studies on two-locus haplotypes of Iyers revealed unique haplotypes in them (A26-B8, A33-B44, A33-Cw7, A1-B57, B8-DR3, B44-DR7, DR7-DQ2, C4A*32-C4B*Q0, and C4A*6-C4B*2), most of which were not identified in the Bhargavas of Lucknow and the Punjabis of Delhi. Thus it is possible that various Brahmin populations of India differ in their origin, migration, and settlement, although all of them adopted Hinduism in ancient times. A comparison of haplotypes in Iyers with the world population reveals a sharing of haplotypes with Southeast Asian populations. This implies that the ancestors of the Iyers of Madurai, who originated in the Eurasian steppes or Central Asia, might have migrated to India through Southeast Asia, thus developing the prevalent haplotypes en route.
This article was published in Hum Biol
and referenced in Cloning & Transgenesis