For the very first time scientists carried out genetic study on people of Lakshadweep Islands. It was conducted by a team of researchers at CSIR’s (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research) Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). The authors studied major islands of Kadmat, Andorth, Chetlat, Agatti, Kalpeni, Bitra, Kiltan and Minicoy of Lakshadweep.
Key Findings of Study
- They studied major islands of Kadmat, Andorth, Chetlat, Agatti, Kalpeni, Bitra, Kiltan and Minicoy of Lakshadweep.
- They analyzed DNA samples of 557 individuals from eight major islands for mitochondrial DNA and 166 individuals for Y chromosome markers.
- Unlike earlier when it was presumed that people of Lakshadweep Islands might have presence of genetic signatures of ancient people, like Andamanese and Australian aboriginals. It shows that majority of human ancestry in Island of Lakshadweep is largely derived from South Asia with minor influences from East and West Eurasia.
- It found close genetic link of Lakshadweep islanders with people from Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. However, it did not found any evidence of early human migration through Lakshadweep islands.
- Although, genetic composition of first human settlement of Lakshadweep archipelago is still not clear. But it found that there is a strong founder effect for both paternal and maternal lineages which signals that island’s population had limited genetic mixing.
Geographical Facts: Lakshadweep
- It was formerly (1956–73) called Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands. It is India’s union territory.
- It is an archipelago (extensive group of islands) of 36 islands in Laccadive Sea, scattered over 30,000 square miles of Arabian Sea.
- Its administrative centre (capital) is Kavaratti.
- ‘Lakshadweep’ in Malayalam language and in Sanskrit means “Hundred Thousand Islands”.
- Nine Degree Channel: separates Minicoy Island from rest of Lakshadweep.
- Eight Degree Channel: Separates entire group of Lakshadweep islands from Maldives.