Dissecting the paternal founders of Mundari (Austroasiatic) speakers associated with the language dispersal in South Asia


The phylogenetic analysis of Y chromosomal haplogroup O2a-M95 was crucial to determine the nested structure of South Asian branches within the larger tree, predominantly present in East and Southeast Asia. However, it had previously been unclear that how many founders brought the haplogroup O2a-M95 to South Asia. On the basis of the updated Y chromosomal tree for haplogroup O2a-M95, we analysed 1437 male samples from South Asia for various novel downstream markers, carefully selected from the extant phylogenetic tree. With this increased resolution of genetic markers, we were able to identify at least three founders downstream to haplogroup O2a-M95, who are likely to have been associated with the dispersal of Austroasiatic languages to South Asia. The fourth founder was exclusively present amongst Tibeto-Burman speakers of Manipur and Bangladesh. In sum, our new results suggest the arrival of Austroasiatic languages in South Asia during last 5000 years.

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Fig. 1: The updated phylogeography of haplogroup O2a-M95 in South Asia.


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We thank Dr. Michael St. Clair for his comments. This work is supported by the National Geographic Explorer grant HJ3-182R-18. PPS is supported by the CSIR-JRF doctoral fellowship. MK, SR, RV, MM, DMB, and TK are supported by institutional research funding IUT (IUT24-1) of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. MK is supported by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Project No. 2014-2020.4.01.15-0012). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, the decision to publish or the preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Gyaneshwer Chaubey.

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This study was approved by the regional ethical committee of Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, India (I.Sc./ECM-XII/2018-19/06).

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Singh, P.P., Vishwakarma, S., Sultana, G.N.N. et al. Dissecting the paternal founders of Mundari (Austroasiatic) speakers associated with the language dispersal in South Asia. Eur J Hum Genet (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-00745-1

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