Caste system has left imprints on genes: study

When did caste become the dominant norm for ethnic communities of a region? 70 generations ago, or nearly 1,500 years ago.

The twisting strands of DNA tell tales, not just of the strengths and weaknesses that make us human, but of the consolidation of the caste system.

A study by researchers from the National Institute of BioMedical Genomics (NIBMG) in West Bengal has looked at the genes of various communities to answer questions that have often been suggested in history books: when did caste become the dominant norm for ethnic communities of the region.

For most upper-caste communities, endogamy (that is marrying within one’s caste) started nearly 70 generations ago, or around the time of the Hindu Gupta period around 1,500 years ago, says the study published in the latest issue of the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

“A lot of social transformation took place during the Gupta period. Notable among these was the enforcement of social strictures against marriage between castes, as enshrined in the Dharmasastra. This reveals that some social norms leave imprints on the DNA, which can be reconstructed by careful genetic studies,” says Partha P. Majumder, Director, NIBMG, who, along with Analabha Basu and Neeta Sarkar Roy, authored the study......................Read more


Source: The Hindu

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