The genetic profile based on autosomal markers, four microsatellite DNA markers (D8S315, FES, D8S592, and D2S1328) and two minisatellite DNA markers (TPMT and PDGFA), were analyzed in six endogamous populations to examine the effect of geographic and linguistic affiliation on the genetic affinities among the groups. The six populations are from three different states of India and are linguistically different. Marathas from western India speak Marathi, an Indo-European language. Arayas, Muslims, Ezhavas, and Nairs from Kerala state of South India speak Malayalam, and Iyers from Tamil Nadu state speak Tamil. Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood samples of random, normal, healthy individuals. Locus-specific PCR amplification was carried out, followed by electrophoresis of the amplicons and genotyping. All the loci were highly polymorphic and followed Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, except for loci D8S315 and PDGFA in Iyers and Marathas, respectively. All six loci had high heterozygosity (average heterozygosity ranged from 0.73 to 0.76) and high polymorphism information content (0.57–0.90). The extent of gene differentiation among the six populations (GST = 0.030) was greater than that for four Kerala populations (GST = 0.011), suggesting proximity between the four Kerala populations. This result conforms with the cultural and linguistic background of the populations. The extent of diversity found among the populations probably resulted from the strict endogamous practices that they follow.
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Vol. 79 • No. 4