Scientists from India and Switzerland to speak at the Estonian Biocentre
Senior Principal Scientist and Group Leader at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in India, dr. K. Thangaraj will hold a public seminar entitled „The Social stratification in India: Does it have any impact on genetic diversity?” on April 25, 10.15 at Riia 23 room 105.
Right after dr Thangaraj, the Director of the Linguistics Institute at the University of Bern in Switzerland, where he holds the Chair of Historical Linguistics, George van Driem will hold a public seminar entitled “East Asian ethnolinguistic phylogeography and reconstructible episodes in prehistory“.
Everybody is welcome to attend!
During the presentation “The Social stratification in India: Does it have any impact on genetic diversity?” dr. Thangaraj will focus on how the Indian genetics is different from rest of the world and what would be its implications in health and disease.
India represents one of the largest sources of human diversity, comprising of more than four and half thousands anthropologically well-defined populations. Since most of the Indian populations maintaining very strict endogamy marriage practices, for the last thousands of years, genetic mutations introduced in every population remains populations-specific. Hence specialists have studied the genetic variation among large number of Indian populations to get insight about their complex origin, health and genetic disease.
Results show that genetic patterns in Indian populations have been shaped by a long history of genetic isolation between different groups that predates the caste system in place in India during colonialism. Allele frequency differences between groups in India are larger than in Europe, reflecting strong founder effects whose signatures have been maintained for thousands of years owing to endogamy. Scientists, therefore, predict that there will be an excess of recessive and complex diseases in India.
During the presentation “East Asian ethnolinguistic phylogeography and reconstructible episodes in prehistory“ George van Driem will focus on proto-languaeges.
A proto-language can only be reconstructed on the basis of linguistic evidence. Moreover, the linguistic ancestors of a modern language community were not necessarily the same people as the community’s biological forebears. The reconstructible past accessible to historical linguistics is an order of magnitude shallower than the time depth accessible to population genetics. With such caveats in mind, a reconstruction of the ethnolinguistic population prehistory of eastern Eurasia will be advanced on the basis of linguistic and human genetic phylogeography, linguistic palaeontology and other evidence.
The utility has been demonstrated of the Father Tongue hypothesis, whereby globally a probabilistic correlation is frequently found to obtain between the Y chromosomal haplogroups prevalent in a language community and their language, but quite in a number of cases no such correlation can be shown to obtain. At the same time, it is inevitable that many ancient tongues and a number of paternal lineages have gone extinct without leaving a trace. The interdisciplinary model of prehistory to be presented rests upon data and insights from diverse disciplines and a transparently articulated argument structure consisting of discrete testable subsidiary hypotheses.
Only certain aspects and episodes of prehistory are amenable to reconstruction with any likelihood of a claim to veracity. Yet the phylogenetic approaches in diverse disciplines offer distinct windows on the past which can be judiciously and fruitfully correlated.
For further information: Gyaneshwer Chaubey, senior researcher in Eesti Biokeskus, e-mail: gyanc [ät] ebc.ee.