15.06.2021 - 14:15
On 15 June at 14:15 Ajai Kumar Pathak will defend his doctoral thesis “Delineating genetic ancestries of people of the Indus Valley, Parsis, Indian Jews and Tharu tribe”.
professor Richard Villems, University of Tartu
professor Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Banaras Hindu University (India)
professor Francesc Calafell, Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF) (Spain)
Presented hereby is the 5th in a series of PhD theses prepared in Tartu University, addressing genetics of population history of the South Asian peoples. Inhabited considerably before the Last Glacial Maximum, the region harbors by now about 1.8 billion humans – almost a quarter of the global population. Therefore, understanding of present-day variation of the latter, in particular outside sub-Saharan Africa, is not possible without deeper knowledge about genetics of South Asian populations. This thesis is based on four published papers. The first one is focused on selected populations inhabiting northeastern Indus Valley, bearing, in particular, in mind ancient Indus Valley civilization and following it Vedic period. The second and the third paper address historically somewhat better known migrations, bringing to India religiously distinct Parsi and Jewish peoples. The fourth paper analyses the genetic variation of a populous Tharu tribe, living predominantly in Nepal, but also in northern provinces of India. Perhaps the most interesting finding of the first paper is that the presumably identified already in Vedic texts, Ror population exhibits significant genetic affinity with northern Steppe and West European peoples, testifying about prehistoric north to south migration(s). The arrival of Parsis to South Asia in 7th century was a consequence of the Islamization of Iran. Comparing Parsi genomes in their historic contexts, we observed their extensive admixture with South Asians, in particular, asymmetrically in paternal and maternal lineages. Nearly the same can be said about different Indian communities that preserved Judaist traditions: their genomes show affinities to peoples living in the Near and Middle East. As far as the genetically highly diverse Tharu tribe is concerned, a clearly distinct East Asian contribution can be seen, admixed with South Asian genetic heritage. It seems justified to identify the Tharu as cultural, rather than demic phenomenon.
Riia 23b–105 or via video bridge