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Thread: Is there really a difference between upper and lower castes in India?3121 days old

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    Default Is there really a difference between upper and lower castes in India?

    Notice at 250 SNPs the distance between Brahmin (upper caste) and Madiga and Irula (lower castes and tribals) is minimal, as can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPnLTmJfUu0 at 35:10

    Furthermore, Indians are almost equally distanced from all other main race types (though slightly closer to Europeans than they are to Asians or Africans) as can be seen by them being placed in between the other three in that diagram at 250 SNPs. This is why it should not come as a surprise that some Indians quite often pass for tri-racials or look somewhat like some tri-racials in the Caribbean like Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic.
    Last edited by Indian; 2011-04-06 at 16:57.

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    South Indian Brahmins are a bit more West Asian than the lower caste South Indians. However, lower caste Northwest Indians are more West Asian than upper caste (Brahmin) South Indians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandar Qasim View Post
    South Indian Brahmins are a bit more West Asian than the lower caste South Indians. However, lower caste Northwest Indians are more West Asian than upper caste (Brahmin) South Indians.
    I know there is a small difference, but the difference isn't as big as some would have you believe. Genetically Indians cluster together when you look at 250 SNPs. The difference between a Brahmin and a tribal isn't as big as you might think. Lot of the differences in caste-ism stem from the type of work that was handed down rather than meaningful genetic differences. This is why its not uncommon for lower and middle castes to be lighter than higher castes.
    Last edited by Indian; 2011-04-06 at 16:53.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Indian View Post
    I know there is a small difference, but the difference isn't as big as some would have you believe. Genetically Indians cluster together when you look at 250 SNPs. The difference between a Brahmin and a tribal isn't as big as you might think. Lot of the differences in caste-ism stem from the type of work that was handed down rather than meaningful genetic differences. This is why its not uncommon for lower and middle castes to be lighter than higher castes.
    You should see this study:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gn...ndiareich1.png

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gn...ndiareich2.png

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    Kashmiris, Pashtuns and Sindhis and some of the Muslim population does not surprise me as having high West Asian ancestry because that's where a lot of the Muslims came from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Indian View Post
    Notice at 250 SNPs the distance between Brahmin (upper caste) and Madiga and Irula (lower castes and tribals) is minimal, as can be seen here at 35:10
    Weren't you the one who said this a while ago?-
    Quote Originally Posted by Indian View Post
    The difference is more along the lines of caste rather than region.
    Anyway, you're basing this of just 250 SNPs. Not even 20,000 SNPs is enough to bring about a population structure of any sort, so 250 SNPs would tell us absolutely nothing of the overall picture. The genetic variation in India has both a caste and region-based gradation/cline. You are correct when you state that South Asians generally form a cluster together in comparison to other populations regardless of region or caste. South Asians of all kinds, be it the upper castes or the lower caste, north Indian or south Indian have been in South Asia long enough for recombination to do its work, so they're distinctively South Asian more than anything else. Within this South Asian cluster however, there are specific sub-clusters that comprise of certain ethno-linguistic groups. This is not solely owing to the endogamy practiced by a given group which in turn would have led to founder effect only increasing the similarity, but also due to the presence of higher amounts of certain ancestral components and in some cases the presence of ancestral components absent in groups otherwise. Let us use the results of some of the genome blogging projects to illustrate the same. For instance, in this (this pictures is cropped, my own compilation) South Asian cluster produced using the Dodecad Ancestry Project results, South Asians as expected cluster together.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    However, notice the three distinct clusters within this South Asian cluster. If we were to cut this tree into three parts, we would get one largely South Indian Brahmin cluster; a second non-Brahmin Bengali + non Brahmin South Indian cluster and a third North-Western South Asian cluster. The U.P Brahmins, while having a greater affinity to North West India are presumably in between South Indian Brahmins and North-West South Asians. This is consistent with their geographic position in Uttar Pradesh (North-Central/upper India).

    In terms of admixture results, southern Brahmins are clearly characterized by a significantly higher West Asian score and some minor Northern European admixture, the latter is completely absent for the lower castes of the same region. The Harappa ancestry project did a run for the Xing data set a K=16. I'll use this data rather than the individual T.N Brahmin participants as it is from an actual, peer-reviewed research paper.

    Xing et al's Tamil Brahmin sample averages at K=16:

    South Asian - 55%
    Balochistani/Caucasus (West Asian) - 21%
    Irula - 7%
    Kalash - 4%
    N. European - 5%
    South West Asian - 2%
    SE Asian - 1%
    Chinese - 1%
    Polynesian - 2%
    Siberian - 1%
    Papuan - 1%
    Japanese - 1%

    Compare with Tamil Nadu Dalit sample averages again at K=16:

    South Asian - 73%
    Balochistani/Caucasus - 2%
    Irula - 13%
    Kalash - 1%
    European - 1%
    SW Asian - 1%
    SE Asian - 2%
    Polynesian - 3%
    Siberian - 1%
    Papuan - 2%
    Japanese 1%

    The difference is both regional and caste based - the diversity of the Indian sub continent is not determined based on solely one factor but an amalgamation of many factors. Bandar Qasim is very correct when he says the generic inhabitants of North Western South Asia are generally more West Asian than the average South Indian Brahmin - around 10 to 15% more. However, a comparison between such geographically removed ethnicities is not feasible - just compare the distance between Pakistan or Punjab and Tamil Nadu. The difference between castes persists in almost every region of India except outlier areas like Punjab where there is a certain amount of genetic homogeneity - the admixture results for a Punjabi Brahmin, Rajput (Kshatriya) Jatt (land-owner/agriculturalist) and a Tarkhan (carpenter) are not all that different. Outliers, in my honest opinion can't be used for proper comparison. This difference, or rather the lack of thereof is consistent with Punjab's history - historically these regions were largely settled by the Vedic tribes and caste difference even in social terms has been negligible although still used as a criteria for things such as marriage, further reinforced upon the advent of Sikhism and in Pakistan's case, Islam. Once the admixture results are run for the newly acquired Uttar Pradesh ref. sample, we can compare those with the results of the UP Brahmin participants and see whether this difference still exists, because as of now the difference is very strong as far as far as S India is concerned.
    Quote Originally Posted by Indian View Post
    Kashmiris, Pashtuns and Sindhis and some of the Muslim population does not surprise me as having high West Asian ancestry because that's where a lot of the Muslims came from.
    You're heavily misinterpreting the data. The Pathans, Sindhis and Kashmiri Pandits (Brahmin Hindus, not Muslims) have the highest Ancestral North Indian component for South Asia, in the same order. These people are largely native to the area in the sense that their high West Asian scores should not be attributed to people outside of South Asia - this West Asian admixture is not recent. Compare those results with Xing's Sindhis and Pathans and it only reinforces my point. The Turko-Mongol invaders are definitely not the source of the appreciably strong presence of these components. These are more accurately attributed to the ancient Indo-Iranians, the Neolithic agriculturalists who spread Eastern-wards and the later Saka tribes, etc.

    Xing's Sindhis at K=16-
    South Asian - 38%
    Balochistan/Causus - 35%
    Irula - 3%
    Kalash - 5%
    European - 6%
    SW Asian - 3%
    SE Asian - 1%
    Chinese - 1%
    Siberian - 1 %
    Polynesian - 1%
    Papuan - 1%
    Japanese - 1%
    E Bantu - 2%

    Xing's Pathans at K=16-
    South Asian - 32%
    Balochistan/Caucasus - 39%
    Irula - 2%
    Kalash - 5%
    European - 11%
    SW Asian - 4%
    SE Asian - 1%
    Chinese - 1%
    Polynesian - 1%
    Siberian - 2%
    Papuan - 1%
    Japanese 1%
    Quote Originally Posted by Indian View Post
    This is why its not uncommon for lower and middle castes to be lighter than higher castes.
    Anthropometric studies suggest completely the opposite. Do you have any studies that support the above assertion?

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    Is there black n white difference between upper and lower castes in south india? yes and no, it all depends on who you are comparing with eachother. Lower caste Madigas and tribal Irulas are natives to south india, while southern brahmins came originally from northern india, so therefore brahmins carry some similarities with north indians than the natives of the south. But this still doesn't makes brahmins all that special, because there are many other groups like lower caste Lambadis in south india who's ancestry trace back to northwest india. So lower caste lambadis would be very similar to upper caste dravidian brahmins.

    lower caste: http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/people/lambani/5079.jpg

    upper caste: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3542/...23613a1961.jpg
    Last edited by Reality Check; 2011-05-05 at 06:27.

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