Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Brahmin Blood Volume 54 Number 5, September/October 2001
by Kristin M. Romey

DNA does tell tales, according to researchers who studied the genetic data of 250 unrelated men from the eight social castes of southern India. Y-chromosome analysis, which identifies genetic material passed along the paternal line, reveals that members of the upper castes are genetically more similar to Europeans, while lower caste members share more genetic similarities with Asians. The study, by researchers from the University of Utah, Louisiana State University, and Andhra University, India, confirms literary and archaeological evidence for a Vedic invasion of the subcontinent from the northwest between 3,500 and 3,000 years ago. This "new" population is generally considered to have occupied higher positions within India's caste system.

© 2001 by the Archaeological Institute of America