Study Examines Genetics In India's Caste System
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2001
NEW DELHI, India - A team of leading U.S. and Indian genetic scientists have uncovered a strain of genes common to Europeans and upper caste Hindus. "Genetic Evidence on the Origins of Indian Caste Populations," a research paper published in a recent edition of the U.S.-based Genome Research Journal, concludes that higher caste Hindus are closer to Europeans, particularly East Europeans, while lower caste Hindus are more similar to Asians.
The study was conducted by a joint team of genome researchers and anthropologists from the University of Utah, and Andhra University, India. The team was headed by Utah professor Michael Bamshad. According to ancient Sanskrit texts, the rigid Indian caste system governing the Hindu population in India is divided into four broad categories: Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (traders) and Shudras (servants).
The Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are regarded as higher castes as they are considered to be "twice-born" while Shudras belong to the lower caste, born only once. Five different kinds of genetic methods were used by the Indian and American scientists, including DNA sequencing and Y-chromosome analysis. [More]