Study explains migration events that brought genetic diversity among Nepalese population

Source: The post is based on the articleStudy explains migration events that brought genetic diversity among Nepalese populationpublished in PIB on 27th January 2023

What is the News?

According to a study, Tibeto-Burman communities were pre-historic Himalayan settlers, and their East Asian ancestry can be traced back to Neolithic immigration mostly from Tibet around 8 KYA (Kilo Years Ago).

About the origin of modern human population

It is widely accepted that modern humans originated in Africa around 200000 years ago (KYA) and migrated out of Africa between 60 and 70 KYA. Several populations arose in this process, each with its own evolutionary history. 

Genetic drift, endogamy, admixture, isolation and natural selection are a few evolutionary processes that have contributed to genetic diversity among human populations worldwide, including susceptibility and resistance to genetic diseases, infectious diseases, therapeutic response to drugs, and other conditions. 

About Nepal’s Genetic Diversity

Nepal has one of the world’s richest ethnic, cultural, linguistic and social diversity and harbours several anthropologically well-defined populations. 

It harbours populations that are phenotypically similar to East Asians (Mongolians/ Tibetans/ Chinese/ southeast Asians); some are similar to South Asians and some are similar to West Eurasians. 

Why there is genetic diversity among the Nepalese population?

To understand the genetic diversity of Nepal, scientists conducted a maternal mitochondrial DNA study of several Nepalese populations.

The scientists found that except for the high-altitude Sherpa population of Nepal, most of the Tibeto-Burman speaking communities of Nepal harbour significant genetic contributions from Tibet, Myanmar and South Asia showing shared ancestry with the populations from southeast Tibet, Northeast India, North India (Uttarakhand), Myanmar and Thailand.

Some of this ancestry exhibit the signature of early admixture and are widespread in several Nepalese populations including a few Himalayan populations from Uttarakhand, India.

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