Veddas Of Sri Lanka Have Close Genetic Affinity With Indians, Reveals Study - Eastern Mirror
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Veddas of Sri Lanka have close genetic affinity with Indians, reveals study

By IANS Updated: Apr 20, 2024 11:03 am
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HYDERABAD — The Vedda, an indigenous group of Sri Lanka, has a close genetic affinity with the Indian population, revealed a landmark study by 10 researchers from five institutions

The significant findings of the study, which involved a comprehensive analysis of high-resolution autosomal and mitochondrial genomes and shed new light on the initial peopling of Sri Lanka and the ancient genetic ties between the Vedda and other populations in Asia, were published recently in the journal Mitochondrion, according to CSIR-CCMB.

“The language isolate Vedda, who are among the least studied indigenous populations in Sri Lanka, have long intrigued scientists and historians alike due to their unique linguistic and cultural characteristics. This study, therefore, unravelling the mysteries of their genetic origins and affinities with the Indian population,” said Dr. K. Thangaraj one of the senior authors of the study and JC Bose Fellow at the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

Key findings from the research indicate that despite the lack of close linguistic similarities, the Vedda people share a significant genetic link with the ethnic populations in India.

“Our autosomal analyses suggest a close genetic connection between the Vedda and Indian ethnic populations speaking various tongues, pointing towards a deep-rooted history that predates linguistic diversifications,” said Prof Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Molecular Anthropologist at the BHU, Varanasi.

“Maternal DNA analysis supports the existence of an ancient link, reinforcing the notion of a shared genetic heritage. The study proposes that the Vedda population has undergone genetic drift and a recent bottleneck, resulting in a unique genetic makeup with limited gene flow from neighbouring Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamil populations,” said the lead author, Dr Ruwandi Ranasingh, from Colombo University.

Anjana Welikala, the first author of the study, stated that this unique discovery challenges the conventional isolation-by-distance model and underscores the distinct demographic history of the Vedda.

The implications of this research are vast, offering novel perspectives on the demographic history of not only Sri Lanka but also the broader South Asian region.

This study underscores the complex mosaic of human migration and genetic diversity in South Asia, revealing how the Vedda have preserved their genetic identity over millennia despite massive cultural and linguistic changes around them.

These valuable insights will contribute to a better understanding of the genetic diversity in South Asia and foster a deeper appreciation for the unique cultural and genetic heritage of the Vedda people, said Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CCMB.

By IANS Updated: Apr 20, 2024 11:03:36 am
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