The autosomal AmpFLSTR markers validated and widely used for forensic applications are used in this study to examine the extent of di- versity and genetic relationships among nine Meghalaya populations. Al- together, 932 chromosomes from 9 populations were analyzed using 9 tetrameric AmpFLSTR loci. The included populations were all seven sub- tribes of the Austro-Asiatic Mon-Khmer-speaking Khasi and the neighboring Tibeto-Burman Garo. The Lyngngam, which are linguistically closer to the Khasi but are culturally intermediate between the Khasi and the Garo, are also included in the study. Although most of the microsatellite loci are highly polymorphic in each of these populations, the allele distributions are fairly uniform across the Meghalaya populations, suggesting relative homogeneity among them. Concurrent with this, the coefficient of gene differentiation (GST) is observed to be low (0.026�0.002). This is naturally reflected in the lack of clear differentiation and clustering pattern of the Meghalaya tribes based on either geographic proximity or the historical or current affiliations of these tribes. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) suggests no sig- nificant population structure. The structure analysis further suggests that, barring War-Khasi and Pnar, no other population shows any semblance of genetic identity. Even the position of the linguistically distinct Garo is not portrayed as separate from the Khasi. However, when comparable data from other Indian, Southeast Asian, and other continental populations were ana- lyzed, the Meghalaya populations formed a compact cluster clearly separated from other populations, suggesting genetic identity of the Meghalaya popula- tions as a whole. These results are concurrent with the hypothesis of a com- mon and recent origin of these Meghalaya populations, whose genetic differentiation is overwhelmed by the homogenizing effect of continuous gene flow.
Langstieh, B. T.; Reddy, B. Mohan; Thangaraj, K.; Kumar, V.; and Singh, Lalji
"Genetic Diversity and Relationships Among the Tribes of Meghalaya Compared to Other Indian and Continental Populations,"
4, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol76/iss4/6