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What DNA Says About Aryan Invasion Theory -2
Out of Africa: How man came to India (Rediff)
<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Apr 29 2008, 07:33 PM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Apr 29 2008, 07:33 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Out of Africa: How man came to India (Rediff)
Spencer wells is the same white supremacist fellow
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A person called Spencer Wells from Stanford had contacted me in 1997 and 1998 regarding the issue. He had done a lot of work on early migration and was interested in working among the Indian population. But nothing came of it," Pitchappan said.

It was while Pitchappan was attending a conference in Oxford in 2000, when providence struck.

"I had just stepped out of the Welcome Trust Centre, where the conference was on. It was drizzling outside. I saw this frail girl walking down towards the bus stop. We got talking and spoke about our areas of interest," The girl, a Russian, told Pitchappan that she worked for a professor called Spencer Wells and was working on the same subject.

"I told her even I had been in touch with a person of the same name but that he was from Stanford. She told me that we were talking about the same person. She also agreed to set up a meeting the very next day," Pitchappan said.

When they met (almost three years after their first e-mail correspondence) Wells, who had just completed work on the Central Asian population, told Pitchappan that his work was complete and that the paper was ready to go for publication.

"But the study felt incomplete without anything from India, Wells told me," Pitchappan said. Wells asked Pitchappan if they could collaborate and study the Indian population. Pitchappan agreed.

"I wrote a mail to Wells saying I will send him the samples if he thought we can do it right away. He agreed to that and we started working. There was a major conference coming up within a month and we wanted to finish the study before that," Pitchappan said.

The research undertaken by Wells and Pitchappan described the migrations of humans from Africa to other parts of the world. After the paper was presented, Wells got back in touch with Pitchappan, as he felt that there were bigger issues related to the subject.

"Wells told me that at least five per cent of my samples had a gene marker called M130. When I heard this, I knew what it meant. The M130 marker is the one which we use to identify the first out-of-Africa migration!"

There's a reason why this discovery was significant and why Pitchappan was so elated with it.

Indian genome study finds ethnic difference

The largest study of genetic variation in India has found a high degree of genetic difference between Indian ethnic groups.

<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+May 1 2008, 06:56 AM-->QUOTE(acharya @ May 1 2008, 06:56 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Indian genome study finds ethnic difference

The largest study of genetic variation in India has found a high degree of genetic difference between Indian ethnic groups.

[right][snapback]81117[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->I've yet to read it, don't have time now, but have they taken into account that many Indian communities have long been endogamous? (Most especially various so-called tribal communities.)

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The largest study of genetic variation in India has found a high degree of genetic difference between Indian ethnic groups.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->1. And historically? Where's the point of divergence? That is, have these presently-diverse groups a strong common genetic history or does their data tell them it was always a "high degree of genetic difference" in India? Because the development of endogamous communities can explain divergence from a historically common gene pool quite easily.
The statement in quoteblocks is not really indicative of what the thrust of the paper is: everyone already knows India's gene pool has a huge genetic variation, that when subdivided it is going to be regional and then community-wise (next to also taking into account the phenomena produced by things like recent historical population shifts, like GSBs moving south or recent Sindhis moving from TSP into India). But, naturally, what they can't do is presume the existence of distinct ethnic groups in ancient history and then seek to "confirm" that by counting the <i>present</i> numbers of micro-gene pools of communities. (Obviously, because today's snap shot only shows the present state, not how it came to be.) I know this is an ultra-trivial non-point and no one could ever make this elementary mistake past ...well, past lower-level primary, but - though in the past I may have never entertained that there could be scientists out there unscientific enough to make such mistakes, with all the loaded nonsense I've now been exposed to in the last few years, I will not underestimate their penchant for taking shortcuts to get to their own pre-determined conclusions.

Guess reading the paper will answer all that. Not today though.
Came in email...

Peopling of India: Abstracts of genetics studies
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Peopling of India: Abstracts of genetic studies</b>


The grand narrative which emerges from these studies is clear and emphatic. Peopling of India was an indigenous and autochthonous evolution. <b>There are markers of gene flows OUT of India. </b>All so-called jaati or vanavaasi groups are of the same gene pool of India. This is consistent with the work, Indus script encodes mleccha speech which demonstrates the essential semantic unity of all bharatiya or Indian languages in a linguistic area of Sarasvati civilization from ca. 7500 BCE.

I shall be grateful for information on any specific, additional studies should be added to this compendium. Also, comments, suggestions and conclusions which can be drawn  -- and presented in simple terms for incorporation in school/college text books – excerpted or deduced from the intensely technical nature of the genetic study results.
Original link found by Viren (I think) on Stephen Oppenheimer's Myths of British Ancestry has now got a follow up page. Apparently, questions came in and Oppenheimer answered.

Among the questions:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Q—Regarding your statement that <b>75-95 per cent of paternal genes in Britain are of Iberian origin</b>, is this genetic material distinct and specific only among Basque-type peoples, or does some of it share features with other, non-Basque Europeans? If the latter is true, why is it omitted from your findings?

Timothy Burton

A—I do discuss the questions you raise, but in chapters 3 and 4 of my book The Origins of the British, not in the more condensed Prospect article. Part of the answer to your query is in my answer to Douglas Forbes above, but allow me to expand a little more here.

As you suggest, the re-expansion of paternal group R1b and maternal group H from the Basque Ice Age refuge spread up the coasts of all the countries facing the Atlantic, after the ice melted. The British Isles retained higher rates than the other countries, for several reasons related specifically to early movements directly from the Basque country rather than from general diffusion from western Europe. First, as a result of lower sea levels, the British Isles, in particular Ireland, were connected and at the furthest edge of the extended Ice Age European continent, and thus received the bulk of early coastal migration. Then, as sea levels rose, first Ireland then Britain became islands, relatively insulated from further migration from elsewhere in Europe, thus preserving their high rates of R1b and similarity to the initial settlements.

The means by which I could separate the R1b types in the British Isles from those on the other side of the channel is by the use of "Founder Analysis." That is, looking at the detail of their gene types (so-called STR haplotypes). These revealed 21 founding clusters, which could only have arrived direct from the Basque country. Their descendant twigs are unique to the British Isles. Furthermore I was able to date the arrival of these individual clusters using their diversity.

Stephen Oppenheimer<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Oppenheimer's statement: "75-95 per cent of paternal genes in Britain are of Iberian origin." WitSSel will reason that those all-important "paternal oryan lines were just too busy invading India. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> <i>That's why</i> their lines were missing in action in the oryan land" of the christobritish colonials who invented them. Hence, Therefore and Ergo: AIT - proof by .... (electrical) induction. Finally.
(I'm just playin' around, but then so is linguishticks/languagesticks/languishticks/lipsticks. Liposuction? Anyway. It's fun. You try!)
Of course, the real question is not about the they-must-be-made-of-vapour-since-they're-so-invisible Oryans at all. It's rather about the surprisingly small contribution W mainland Europe's genetics seems to have made into Angleterre, especially compared to the even more surprising large Iberian input (SW Europe, Basque territory).

This one I found interesting:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Q—It is true that, "The genetic evidence shows that three quarters of our ancestors came to this corner of Europe as hunter-gatherers, between 15,000 and 7,500 years ago." This is the R lineage group and most European males have an R Y chromosome. But it is rather silly to say that, "Our ancestors were Basques, not Celts. The Celts were not wiped out by the Anglo-Saxons; in fact, neither had much impact on the genetic stock of these islands." Angles, Saxons, Celts and Basques are not lineage groups. They are ethnic groups that developed within the last 2,000 or 3,000 years. Like most Europeans, they probably belonged to the R lineage. Most Germans, Poles, French, Spaniards and Russians also belong to the R lineage group. None of this negates the established history of the British Isles.

Has Oppenheimer read the research of Weale et al—"Y Chromosome Evidence for Anglo-Saxon Mass Migration" (2002)—which shows that the male populations in two central English towns were genetically very similar, whereas those of two north Welsh towns differed significantly both from each other and from the English towns? Using novel population genetic models that incorporate both mass migration and continuous gene flow, they concluded that this was best explained by a substantial migration of Anglo-Saxon Y chromosomes into central England—but not into north Wales.

Douglas Forbes

A—I cannot claim responsibility for your second quotation, which is from the article's standfirst. As you must realise, authors of magazine articles rarely have control over these. I cannot disagree with your complaint, but hopefully you read the whole article.

On your second point, it is misleading for you to talk about frequencies of the R male lineage in different European countries as if this constituted a uniform genetic background, since there are actually two main R groups, which split tens of thousands of years ago outside Europe and had completely different modes of spread and present distributions in Europe. R1b expanded from the Basque Ice Age refuge and predominates in extreme western Europe, being found at only 20 per cent or less in Russia and the Baltic states. R1a1, on the other hand, predominates in eastern Europe, and to a lesser extent in Scandinavia. I deal with the spread of both major R lineages at length in chapters 3 and 4 of my book The Origins of the British.

I have indeed read the research of Weale et al. I discuss it and similar papers at length in chapter 11 of my book, where I register my disagreement with their method of reconstruction from relative gene group frequencies, presenting instead my own phylo-geographic re-analysis of their data, based on fine detail of individual founding lineages.

Stephen Oppenheimer<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->And this one:<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Q—What about the genetic make-up of the Man Islanders? Did it suffer few modifications from its origins because of geographical remoteness, or is it very different from the rest of the British Isles because of the impact of invasions (such as the Vikings) on a small population?

Alexandre Cogan

A—The simple answer is that your first suggestion is closer to the truth than your second. <b>The Isle of Man received more Norwegian gene-flow than anywhere else in the British Isles, except for Shetland and Orkney, which received the most. This does not, however, account for more than 20-25% of the male Isle of Man gene pool.</b> Fig 11.4b in my book gives a very approximate genetic distance map, illustrating this in more detail.

Stephen Oppenheimer<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Isle of Man has among the highest Norwegian gene flow in the British Isles and even so it still comes to only 20 to 25%? Where's them oryans when you need 'em, eh?

Or maybe I should wait for them to repeat their old pattern and declare the Basques to be oryans as well. The Irish and Slavs got in more recently. There was a time when WASPy supremacists reasoned that Gaelic was "obviously" not an IE language and resorted to pointing to such things like agglutinative(?) stuff, while the christonazis of Germany used their confused 'scientifics' to argue that the Russians were separate and supposedly "untermenschen".
Now that they've both been let/pushed in, the Basques, among the last remaining excluded European groups, can't be too far behind. Have faith. And prey ("salva nos deus..."). Then gawd, jeebus and his oryans - sorry, I meant angels - will make the miracle, via their earthly representatives. As miracles go, it would be small: Just publish some papers, and then, a few tv programs and school textbook editions later, one could canonise them and then the Basques too will finally be worthy of an oryan halo.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A new study by Kevin Pope of Geo Eco Arc Research and John Terrell of The Field Museum adds insight into the migration of anatomically modern humans out of Africa and into Asia less than 100,000 years before present (BP). <b>The comprehensive review of human genetic, environmental, and archaeological data from the circum-Pacific region supports the hypothesis, originally based largely on genetic evidence, that modern humans migrated into eastern Asia via a southern coastal route. </b>The expansion of modern human populations into the circum-Pacific region occurred in at least four pulses, in part controlled by climate and sea level changes in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. The initial "out of Africa" migration was thwarted by dramatic changes in both sea level and climate and extreme drought in the coastal zone. A period of stable climate and sea level 45,000-40,000 years BP gave rise to the first major pulse of migration, when modern humans spread from India, throughout much of coastal southeast Asia, Australia, and Melanesia, extending northward to eastern Russia and Japan by 37,000 years BP.

The northward push of modern humans along the eastern coast of Asia stalled north of 43°N latitude, probably due to the inability of the populations to adjust to cold waters and tundra/steppe vegetation. The ensuing cold and dry Last Glacial period, ~33,000-16,000 year BP, once again brought dramatic changes in sea level and climate, which caused abandonment of many coastal sites. After 16,000 years BP, climates began to warm, but sea level was still 100 m below modern levels, creating conditions amenable for a second pulse of human migration into North America across an ice-free coastal plain now covered by the Bering Sea.

The stabilization of climate and sea level in the early Holocene (8,000-6,000 years BP) supported the expansion of coastal wetlands, lagoons, and coral reefs, which in turn gave rise to a third pulse of coastal settlement, filling in most of the circum-Pacific region. A slight drop in sea level in the western Pacific in the mid-Holocene (~6,000-4,000 year BP), caused a reduction in productive coastal
habitats, leading to a brief disruption in human subsistence along the then densely settled coast. This disruption may have helped initiate the last major pulse of human migration in the circum-Pacific region, that of the migration to Oceania, which began about 3,500 years BP and culminated in the settlement of Hawaii and Easter Island by 2000-1000 years BP.

<img src='http://www.frontlineonnet.com/images/20080606251109005.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />


Genetic landscape


The Indian Genome Variation Consortium is carrying out a unique study to provide a comprehensive genetic mapping of India as a whole.

The billion-plus people of India today comprise 4,963 communities, which include several thousands endogamous groups, speak in 325 functioning languages and write in 25 different scripts.

HISTORIANS and anthropologists have over the years provided us with a fairly good understanding of the peopling of India, its evolution over centuries to its current diverse compositional fabric, its population groupings in terms of geography, language, culture and ethnicity as well as its characteristically unique societal stratification and hierarchies. The billion-plus people of India today comprise 4,693 communities, which include several thousands of endogamous groups, speak in 325 functioning languages and write in 25 different scripts. Now, as a result of what is perhaps the largest multi-institutional research effort (at least in biology) in this country, we have a genetic basis to this unparalleled diversity.

This research effort began about five years ago under the name of the Indian Genome Variation Consortium (IGVC). It has involved many Indian anthropologists and over 150 scientists drawn from six laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata; and The Centre for Genomic Application (TCGA), an institution in New Delhi set up in the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode by the CSIR and the Chatterjee Group of Kolkata. The six CSIR institutes are the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi, the nodal institution for the consortium; the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow; the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, or IITR (formerly the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre), Lucknow; the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh; the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata; and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. (Interestingly, the letters in the acronym of the PPP institute – T, C, G, A – also stand for the molecules called bases in nucleotides, the fundamental structural units of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, whose ordering or sequence in DNA codes for genetic information.)

Here is the website of the project. I wish the government had not taken up this study, because it has the potential of causing immense mischief and social turmoil if not handled properly, especially in the hands of the Gora sociologists.


Indian history and anthropology has been politicized. It is not a good idea for this study and this information to go to other western countries.

<img src='http://www.frontlineonnet.com/images/20080606251109002.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Why are they brining language into the genetic sudy
Congitive dissonance
<b>Genetic data refutes theory</b>
Jayakrishnan Nair

In “A battle about history” (Mint, 23 May), T.R. Ramaswami said certain dates for the Mahabharat war were suppressed and the Pandavs and Kauravs were outsiders, and even suggested that the Mahabharat and Ramayan took place outside India.
The article, highly supportive of the invasion theory, which historians such as Romila Thapar reject, asked that the DNA of north Indians be compared with that of those living in West Asia and Europe. In fact, we should also consider the genetic difference between caste and tribal groups in India and between Indo-European (IE) speakers and Dravidian speakers because that, besides clearing doubts about our ancestry, will also indicate whether Ram was a Cossack or Valmiki was a Russian.

We are in luck — there are studies doing precisely this. Genetic studies involving both paternal and maternal lineages have compared a large number of Indian samples against data from West/East/South-East/Central Asia, Europe and the Near East for genetic distance. Two studies disclose that southern castes and tribes are similar to each other and their gene pool is related to the castes of north India. It was not possible to confirm any difference between the caste and tribal pools or find a clear delineation between Dravidian and IE speakers. There was neither a north-south gradient, nor a language-based gradient.

On the ancestry of Indian populations, research says there is no need to look beyond the borders of South Asia for the paternal heritage of a majority of Indians since the time agriculture began. Also, there is no evidence of people coming through the north-west corridor in massive numbers, indicating a South Asian origin for the Indian caste communities (and not a Central Asian one). And, there is recent shared ancestry between Central Asians and Indians, but it is explained by diffusion of Indian lineages northwards, which means some Indians went to Central Asia and got lucky.

If there was no massive Central Asian incursion, how do you explain the linguistic connection between the Elamite and Dravidian populations? In fact, some Western-Eurasian maternal DNA groups were found among Indian populations providing evidence of this. Investigating when this group of Indians branched off from the Western Europeans, a date of 9300+/-3000 years before present was found — this is nowhere close to the dates (1500-1200 BC) of the massive Aryan migration/invasion suggested by proponents of that theory.

This time frame has historical significance. The earliest South Asian farming community in Mehrgarh, at the foot of the Bolan Pass in the Baluchistan region, is dated between 7000 BC and 5500 BC. Mehrgarh, which is in the company of other early settlements such as Çatalhöyük, Jarmo and Jericho, was five times larger than the site at Çatalhöyük and existed two millennia before the Sumerians settled in Babylon.

Genetic data matches the theory of continuity from the settlements of Mehrgarh in 6000 BC to the Harappan civilization. Lack of evidence for the invasion around 1500 BC suggests that IE speakers reached India much before the fictional date and were not foreigners by the time the Vedas were composed. So, vedic people were possibly native to South Asia for several millennia and derived Sanskrit from earlier IE dialects.

Ramaswami said the Ramayan and Mahabharat probably happened outside India and “their stories have come...as oral histories through the horse-people, which were...refined to suit cultural and later ethnic, social and political agendas”. Yet, no other civilization in the world of that age remembers the two epics, which suggests a massive amnesia in Central/West Asia, similar to the European plague. There could be a simpler explanation — the Ramayan and Mahabharat happened in India.

<i>Jayakrishnan Nair writes at Varnam.org/blog and hosts the Indian History Carnival at Desipundit.com. Comments are welcome at otherviews@livemint.com</i>
Full version of abridged article posted here-
forum link

<b>Out of Africa: human roots</b>
by Stephen Oppenheimer
<i>Modern genetics has now shown that the "out of Africa" theory is correct.</i>

Humans first emerged in Africa around 2.5m years ago. Over 160,000 years ago a new group-the first "anatomically modern" humans-arose in the lands of east Africa. Every human on earth today is descended from that group. Then, around 80,000 years ago, a splinter group of these new Africans journeyed out of Africa and their descendants spread out to the far reaches of the continents. This incredible journey across land, river and ocean can now be mapped and plotted in time, through a combination of archaeology, climate study and, most recently, the study of genes.

<b>The earliest humans </b>

Our human story really begins 7m years ago, when cool, dry weather devastated the habitat of numerous forest-dwelling African ape species and opened new pastures for those apes that could survive on the savannah. At some point soon afterwards, the first evolutionary steps were taken towards the two-legged, large-brained creature we now call Homo sapiens. The earliest known walking ape, which evolved on the savannah 4.5m years ago, had the same moderately large brain as chimps. But following an intensification of the dry cool phase the first humans-Homo rudolfensis and Homo habilis-appeared about 2.5m years ago. Diminutive, with brains initially not much larger than chimps, they none the less made stone tools and were joined rapidly by Homo ergaster, and then Homo erectus, also both toolmakers. The latter was the Model T for humans, lasting well over 1m years and spreading throughout Africa, Asia and Europe. These early human species and members of their vegetarian sister group Paranthropus (now extinct) were all characterised by a dramatic growth in brain size. The rapidity of that initial brain growth was never to be repeated.

Some new behaviour shared by all these new species must have been behind the selective pressure that began to favour individuals with larger brains. Whatever new behaviour, unique to these two groups of hominids, drove the growth of their brains, it arose long before evidence for complex culture. It seems to have given them a special advantage in this period of drought, since they replaced-in some cases violently-all other hominids apart from forest-dwelling great apes. The most obvious skill which would benefit from a large brain is the one which still clearly separates today's humans from all other living species: speech. Speech does not depend on diet or toolmaking, which explains how such rapid brain growth could have occurred in vegetarians and omnivores alike while, over the same period, technology apparently languished in both.

Just over 1m years ago, the brain of one human species-Homo rhodesiensis-had grown to within the range of volume of modern humans. By around 300,000 years ago, the climate-driven brain-growth machine had reached a plateau of size greater than that of today's humans. Since then, our brains and bodies have got smaller. Perhaps, as with cars, a law of diminishing evolutionary returns set in, making it no longer economical or feasible to build models with ever larger "engines." (Moreover, the head of the newborn baby might simply have become too large for maternal safety.) Except for changes in limb proportions, eyebrows and skull shape, the physical evolution of the human family had by now slowed to a snail's pace. The real physical and behavioural threshold of Homo sapiens may have been reached at this point. All the characteristic behaviour of modernity-the grinding and use of pigment, the making of fine stone points and blades, fishing and long distance trade-can be traced back to Africa within the past 300,000 years. The evidence emphasises the subsequent acceleration in human technology: first slow, then faster and faster. As more and more knowledge began to be transmitted orally and accumulated down the generations, cultural evolution began to leave genetic evolution far behind. Looked at another way, if cultural evolution really took over from genetic evolution 300,000 years ago, then the major differences between us and them are merely cultural-that implies that if archaic Homo sapiens individuals from 300,000 years ago were transplanted to modern society they could well have the intellectual potential to put a man on the moon.

First hinted at by Darwin, the "garden of Eden" or "out of Africa" theory began to gain ground less than 30 years ago based on skull comparisons. It suggests that all human species, including the archaic types, arose in Africa. Anatomically modern humans who emerged 160,000 years ago (as opposed to archaic Homo sapiens who emerged 300,000 years ago) replaced all the others first in Africa, then outside-in some cases this seems to have been achieved by wiping them out. But an older theory known as multiregionalism was influential until recently. This theory, held principally by fossil specialists, argued for multiple sources of the different human races, claiming that each present-day regional Homo sapiens type (or "race") evolved slowly from local Homo erectus colonies. Homo erectus, one of the first humans, had made it rapidly out of Africa to colonise the whole of Eurasia. According to multiregionalists, African Homo erectus gave rise to Africans, Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) gave rise to Europeans, east Asians derived from Peking man (Asian Homo erectus) and Australians from Java man (a descendant of Asian Homo erectus). These two views of the modern human genesis have quite different timescales. The out of Africa theory describes a complete replacement of other humans by a close-knit family of pioneers within the past 200,000 years, while multiregionalism claims deep regional divisions between modern human races going back well over 1m years. As a result, multiregionalism has been accused of providing justification for racist views. While this may be unfair, it is surprising that the view has lasted so long. Part of the reason the argument still runs on is the paucity of the fossil record. Well-dated fossil specimens of the earliest anatomically modern humans, dating back 160,000 years, were unearthed only recently in Ethiopia. The specimens confirm the African origin of our own special version of Homo sapiens. Genetics, with its ability to build and date trees, has now vindicated the out of Africa theory and the multiregionalists have become a dwindling-albeit vocal-band regarded by some geneticists as akin to flat-earthers.

<b>The Adam and Eve genes </b>

The genes we carry in our cells are inherited from our parents and define us as individuals. Almost since this was first understood, over 100 years ago, geneticists have dreamt of using genetic markers to classify human races, show how they are related, and determine their origins. Genes are made up of a long string-like molecule, DNA, which carries a sequence of coded instructions to build and maintain our bodies. Over many generations, small harmless mutations build up in the DNA code. The new mutations are then passed down the generations where they act as markers to identify new branches of a family tree for that small stretch of DNA.

The trouble is that most of our DNA has the tendency to get shuffled up and spliced after fertilisation of the ovum at every generation; this blurs the family tree. Luckily, two small parts of our DNA do not suffer this shuffling process and are passed down intact through the generations. One is the Y chromosome, which is passed down only from father to son. The other is so-called mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which we all have in our cells, but is only transmitted by our mothers. Sixteen years ago the Hawaiian geneticist Rebecca Cann and her colleagues published the first mtDNA tree showing that all modern humans can be traced back to a single recent African female ancestor. The mtDNA finding was subsequently mirrored for the Y chromosome. The two genetic trees have revolutionised our view of our past. (These two small parts of the genome are a fraction of our genetic heritage. We may have thousands of other "common ancestors" corresponding with the 30,000 other genes in our genome.)

The fact that mutations occur at a constant (although random) rate made it possible to date not only the branches but the base of the tree-less than 200,000 years. This confirmed the garden of Eden theory that modern humans, arising in Africa, had only recently replaced all pre-existing human species throughout the world and sounded the death knell for the multiregional theory.

The Adam and Eve trees have also helped to answer the question of whether our ancestors interbred with older human species like Neanderthals; anatomically modern Cro-Magnon Europeans are known to have coexisted with Neanderthals for more than 10,000 years. MtDNA has now been sequenced from a number of well-preserved Neanderthal bones, revealing at least 18 mutational differences from our African genetic Eve. If there had been mixing of Cro-Magnon with Neanderthal mtDNA, their mtDNA could theoretically have continued into modern times. If Neanderthal mtDNA had survived in Europe such a great difference in sequence should have been detected among the thousands of modern people whose mtDNA has been sampled-but it has yet to be found. This absence does not, however, prove conclusively that interbreeding did not occur.

More crucially, the new genetic tools can confirm or reject controversial archaeological theories of migrations. Which exit route did we take out of Africa, how many exit points were there and where did we go next? The most important advance in answering these questions over the past five years has been the fine resolution of the tree by British geneticist Martin Richards and colleagues from Britain, New Zealand and Germany. This showed just one of the multiple African mtDNA branches peopling the whole of the rest of the world. Geneticists have confirmed a similar finding for several other gene trees, including the Y chromosome. This single branch pattern makes it extremely unlikely there was more than one successful exodus.

<b>Where and when did we leave Africa? </b>

Knowing where we left Africa may reveal not only when and where we went next but how each modern regional group is related to the others. Unfortunately, it is not quite as easy as that. Regional populations as in India, Europe and China are not the same as single branches of gene trees. The tree is in reality more like several strands of creeping ivy spreading and branching over the earth. One region will share strands of different genetic branches with neighbouring regions; but each region has its own unique new growth. It is the new twigs and leaves that grew on the older strands in different regions that tell us where people migrated to and where they went after that. Genetic branches, however, only have approximate dates, while climatic and archaeological events can be better dated. So the reconstruction of these ancient migrations has to be matched with archaeology, the dramatic effects of changing climate and natural geographic corridors and barriers.

There are only two routes out of sub-Saharan Africa to Asia: one up the Nile corridor through Egypt and the Suez to the Levant, and the other to the south, across the mouth of the Red sea and along the Arabian coast to modern-day Yemen and Oman. For most of the past 100,000 years, the Syrian and Arabian deserts separated south Asia from the Levant and Europe. So taking the northern route meant that emigrants could only go further north to Europe and the Caucasus. Taking the southern route meant continuing along the coast of the Indian ocean to India, the far east and Australia.

Archaeology and climate both favour the southern route (see map page 53). Australia was colonised at least 20,000 years before Europe. If there was only one exodus through the northern route, Europe should have been colonised earlier. My suspicion is that Europe was colonised late because the ancestors of west Eurasians had to settle somewhere in south Asia, like the Arabian gulf, until the climatic amelioration that began 50,000 years ago allowed them to make their way north to the east coast of the Mediterranean. From there, they could enter Europe. The genetic dating is consistent with this pattern.

There are other strands to the climatic argument. Between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago the world was much drier than today, sea levels were lower, and the short crossing of the mouth of the Red sea directly from sub-Saharan Africa would have been less hazardous than crossing the Sahara desert to get to north Africa. Evidence of systematic beachcombing, stretching back as far as 125,000 years, has recently been found near the mouth of the Red sea on the west coast. So a means of survival along the Arabian coast was definitely available to southern migrants. Increasing salinity of the Red sea as a result of falling sea levels, a shallow mouth and increased evaporative loss may have prompted the move about 80,000 years ago.

The evidence from the distribution of non-African genetic branches is the clincher for the southern route. We might reasonably suppose that our emigrant band from Africa would leave a trace of their early genetic branches at the start of their trail. There is no evidence for this through north Africa to the Levant or Europe. In these places, we see only derivative genetic branches dating from after 50,000 years ago, agreeing with the archaeological evidence for a later colonisation. Furthermore, one of the two earliest mtDNA branches outside Africa, the Asian M group, is virtually absent here. By contrast, when we look at India, the first major dispersal point along the southern route, we find all the earliest genetic branches outside Africa.

So a picture is emerging of a single exit by the southern route about 80,000 years ago and a rapid spread of beachcombers around the Indian ocean over land bridges through Indonesia to Bali. From there a few short island hops could have taken our migrants to Timor. The final stretch was more of a problem. Today there are 300 miles of sea between Timor and Australia. But 65-70,000 years ago a severe glaciation briefly locked up enough water to lower the sea level over 80 metres, taking the coast of Timor to within 100 miles of Australia. Archaeological evidence for the earliest occupation of Australia by modern humans suggests this must have been the only time they could have got across. To have reached Australia by that time, our ancestors would need to have left Africa at least 10,000 years earlier-80,000 years ago.

Other dates further back on the trail support the 80,000 year exodus claim. A famous, anatomically modern human skull from Liujiang in south China was recently redated to over 70,000 years ago. There is increasing consensus that certain pebble tools only appeared in southeast Asia with the arrival of modern humans over 70,000 years ago. One group of these tools was found in Kota Tampan in the Malay peninsula, encased in volcanic ash from the great Toba eruption. That volcanic eruption has been precisely dated to 74,000 years ago, indicating that modern humans had arrived in the Malay peninsula, halfway to Australia, by this time. Again, this makes the 80,000-year exit from Africa look very reasonable.

Later events, such as the peopling of the Americas and the drama of the last ice age 18,000 years ago, are also described and illuminated by the new genetic tools.

<b>Why do humans look so different? </b>

The implications of only one exodus are enormous. In particular, it means all non-African peoples-including Europeans, Indians, Chinese, Australians and native Americans-are related and recent descendants of that one small family band. This conclusion raises the question: "Why do they all look so different?" The answer is that most differences are only skin deep. Our acute sense of facial recognition tends to exaggerate anatomical differences in physiognomy. In evolutionary terms, changes of skin and hair colour from black to brown, blond or white are relatively minor events and can take place in any human population over a period as short as 20,000 years. Other animal species can also show enormous differences in skin and hair pigmentation. The black panther, for instance, is just a black or "melanistic" leopard, and several arctic animals change pelt colour from white to coloured with season.

Our skin and hair colour is the effect of melanin, a brown pigment. Melanin production is controlled by only a few genes. The normal or original state for modern humans was probably black because melanin protects against the harmful effects of the sun-lethal skin cancers in particular-in the tropics. Melanin genes can mutate in ways that reduce the amount of melanin our skin and hair follicles make. In northern Europe and northern Asia these mutations are beneficial and have been selected for, because too much melanin in a low-sun environment prevents production of vitamin D, leading to rickets, which can be fatal in infants. Over thousands of years, people with paler skin are naturally selected to survive better in the north. This is the most likely explanation for the pale skin of Europeans and northern Asians.

As for the rest of the physical differences between races, the bulk are probably the result of isolation and so-called "genetic drift." Variation within regional groups is often as great as that between them. Overall, the groups that have changed facial structure least since the exodus are western Eurasians (including Europeans), southern Indians, some Malaysian aborigines and New Guinean highlanders. Those that have changed most are perhaps the so-called Mongoloids (including native Americans), possibly as an adaptation to a harsh, cold Palaeolithic environment on the central Asian steppe, though the genetic basis of such differences has yet to be studied.

The new genetic story of our origins illuminates the trail of our wanderings from a single exodus. It also reveals the truth that the modern races of humanity represent a small, closely related cluster that expanded very recently to replace all the diverse species of humans that had walked and talked before us.
Find out more about Stephen Oppenheimer's work here, at the Bradshaw Foundation website</i>
download Stephen Oppenheimer's presentation and question session at London's Darwin Center:

http://rapidshare.com/files/120671073/Oppe.html (69 Mb)

Open with Media Player.
Study rubbishes Hitler's Aryan theory

London (PTI): Adolf Hitler's Aryan invasion theory is one of the most controversial historical topics for well over a century. But, now a new study has rubbished the Nazis' much cherished concept of a "superior" Nordic race.

Researchers at Copenhagen University have found that bodies from 2000-year-old burial sites in the east of Denmark contained "as much genetic variation in their remains as one would expect to find in individuals of the present day".

Hitler used pseudo-scientific research to back up claims that northern Europeans could form a Master Race which would lead mankind, and even set up a breeding program between Germans and Norwegians to foster it.

The racist theory, which placed the Master Race at the top of mankind's hierarchy and Jews at the bottom, played a central role in the Holocaust.

But according to the new study, the "concept of a single Scandinavian genetic type, a Scandinavian race that wandered to Denmark, settled there, and otherwise lived in complete isolation from the rest of the world, is a fallacy".

In fact, it found that far from being isolated and "genetically pure", Danes mixed with peoples from across the globe.

"It becomes clear that the Danes must have been in contact with other peoples. One of the Danish burial grounds, which dates back to the iron age also contained the remains of a man who appears to have been of Arabian origin," 'The Daily Telegraph' quoted lead researcher Linea Melchior as saying.

The findings of the study have been published in the 'American Journal of Physical Anthropology'.

Didn't indohaters, and not Hitler, start the AIT rumour mill? If AIT was started by Hitler, would that alone not be enough to rubbish AIT?
<img src='http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Indo-European_isoglosses.png' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

The Indo-European language groups as of 500 B.C.E, along with selected isoglosses.

* Blue: Centum languages
* Red-orange: Satem languages
* Orange: Languages exhibiting augment
* Green: Languages exhibiting PIE *-tt- > -ss-
* Tan: Languages exhibiting PIE *-tt- > -st-
* Pink: Languages in which the instrumental, dative, and ablative plurals, as well as certain singulars and duals, exhibit endings beginning in -m-, rather than the usual *-bh-.

<img src='http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Chariot_spread.png' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

historical spread of the chariot. This map combines various classes of information, historical and archaeological. The 'isochrones' as given should not be considered more than rough approximations, give or take a century.

* red, 2000 BC: area of the earliest known spoke-wheeled chariots (Sintashta-Petrovka culture)
* orange, 1900 BC: extent of the Andronovo culture, expanding from its early Sintashta-Petrovka phase; spread of technology in this area would have been unimpeded and practically instantaneous
* yellow, 1800 BC: extent of the great steppes and half-deserts of Central Asia, approximate extent of the early Indo-Iranian diaspora at that time. Note that early examples of chariots appear in Anatolia as early as around this time.
* light green, 1700 BC: unknown, early period of spread beyond the steppes
* green/cyan, 1600-1200 BC: the Kassite period in Mesopotamia, rise to notability of the chariot in the Ancient Near East, introduction to China, possibly also to the Punjab and the Gangetic plain (Rigveda) and E and N Europe (Trundholm Sun Chariot), assumed spread of the chariot as part of Late Bronze Age technology
* blue, 1000-500 BC: Iron Age spread of the chariot to W Europe by Celtic migrations

LOOKS really fake
<img src='http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Rosenberg2007.png' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Clustering analysis from Rosenberg (2006), shows no distinctive genetic cluster compositions among Indo-Aryan populations in India, though there is a slight change in the specific Indo-Aryan populations of the Punjab, Sindh and Kashmir regions located in the north-west of South Asia.

Lot of effort and information in this wiki to show the authenticity of AIT
But it looks more fake
can learned members please suggest essential readings for a total layman to learn the basics of biotechnology?
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Jul 1 2008, 08:05 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Jul 1 2008, 08:05 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->basics of biotechnology?[right][snapback]83621[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Biology textbooks for age 17 is where they first introduced biotech (where I live). Too basic for your needs probably. Try introductory university level courses. There may be PPT presentations of lectures online for this subject, as there are for others. Lectures slides will often mention names of textbooks.

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