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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Y-chromosome evidence suggests a common paternal heritage of Austro-Asiatic populations

Vikrant Kumar1, Arimanda NS Reddy1, Jagedeesh P Babu1, Tipirisetti N Rao1, Banrida T Langstieh12, Kumarasamy Thangaraj3, Alla G Reddy3, Lalji Singh3 and Battini M Reddy1*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular Anthropology Group, Biological Anthropology Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Street No. 8, Hubsiguda, Hyderabad – 500 007, India

2 Department of Anthropology, North Eastern Hill University, Shillong – 793 014, India

3 Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Uppal Raod, Hyderabad – 500 007, India

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2007, 7:47  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-47

Published: 28 March 2007



The Austro-Asiatic linguistic family, which is considered to be the oldest of all the families in India, has a substantial presence in Southeast Asia. However, the possibility of any genetic link among the linguistic sub-families of the Indian Austro-Asiatics on the one hand and between the Indian and the Southeast Asian Austro-Asiatics on the other has not been explored till now. Therefore, to trace the origin and historic expansion of Austro-Asiatic groups of India, we analysed Y-chromosome SNP and STR data of the 1222 individuals from 25 Indian populations, covering all the three branches of Austro-Asiatic tribes, viz. Mundari, Khasi-Khmuic and Mon-Khmer, along with the previously published data on 214 relevant populations from Asia and Oceania.


Our results suggest a strong paternal genetic link, not only among the subgroups of Indian Austro-Asiatic populations but also with those of Southeast Asia. However, maternal link based on mtDNA is not evident. The results also indicate that the haplogroup O-M95 had originated in the Indian Austro-Asiatic populations ~65,000 yrs BP (95% C.I. 25,442 – 132,230) and their ancestors carried it further to Southeast Asia via the Northeast Indian corridor. Subsequently, in the process of expansion, the Mon-Khmer populations from Southeast Asia seem to have migrated and colonized Andaman and Nicobar Islands at a much later point of time.


Our findings are consistent with the linguistic evidence, which suggests that the linguistic ancestors of the Austro-Asiatic populations have originated in India and then migrated to Southeast Asia.