From: Kalyanaraman < >
Origin of European gypsy population traced to north-
Scientists at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology crack mystery surrounding the origin, migration of Roma population
Scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have said that they have cracked the mystery surrounding the origin and migration of the Roma (gypsy) population.
A team of international scientists led by CCMB’s Kumarasamy Thangaraj concluded that the aboriginal scheduled tribe and scheduled caste population of north-western India, traditionally referred as Doma and also as Dalits, are the most likely ancestral population of modern European Roma.
The development assumes significance in view of the curiosity surrounding the parental lineage of the European gypsy population.
Though linguistic and genetic studies of the European Roma have been traced to Eurasia, the exact parental population group and time of dispersal remained disputed in the absence of archaeological evidence and scanty historical documentation of the Roma.
The study found that the exile time of the Roma founders from India could be approximately put at 1,405 years ago.
The conclusion was arrived at after an exhaustive study involving screening of about 10,000 males around the world, including 7,000 hailing from 205 ethnic population of India to discern a more precise ancestral source of Romani (gypsy) population.
Dr. Thangaraj explained that all males of a family or a population evolved from a single founder make and would possess the same Y chromosome.
Based on the genetic signature that exists on the Y chromosome, every male could be assigned to a specific group (haplogroup), enabling tracing of parental lineage using these signatures.
It was shown that the European Roma possessed the Y chromosome haplogroup Hlala. The most recent common ancestor of European Roma was not identified because of the absence of similar data from their putative homeland, India.
“We have compared the worldwide phylogeographical data for Indian Hlala haplotypes with Roma and concluded that Doma are most likely ancestral populations,” he said.
George van Driem, a linguist from University of Bern, Switzerland, who was part of the team, said the finding corroborated the similarity in the terms Roma and Doma and resolved the controversy about Gangetic Plain and Punjab in favour of north-western portion from where widespread range of Doma population diffused.
Linguistic, Indological studies
Another member Gyaneshwer Chaubey said it was noteworthy that the closest as well as matching haplotypes with Roma were found only in the SC/ST populations of northwest India.
This corroborated the linguistic evidence and most recent reconstruction of the likely ethno-linguistic origins and affinities of gypsies based on linguistic and Indological studies, he said.
- Study finds that the exile time of Roma founders from India could be put at 1,405 years ago
- ‘The closest as well as matching haplotypes with Roma were found only in the SC/ST populations’