Diverse genetic origin of Indian muslims: Evidence from autosomal STR loci

Muthukrishnan Eaaswarkhanth, Bhawna Dubey, Poorlin Ramakodi Meganathan, Zeinab Ravesh, Faizan Ahmed Khan, Lalji Singh, Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Ikramul Haque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The origin and relationships of Indian Muslims is still dubious and are not yet genetically well studied. In the light of historically attested movements into Indian subcontinent during the demic expansion of Islam, the present study aims to substantiate whether it had been accompanied by any gene flow or only a cultural transformation phenomenon. An array of 13 autosomal STR markers that are common in the worldwide data sets was used to explore the genetic diversity of Indian Muslims. The austere endogamy being practiced for several generations was confirmed by the genetic demarcation of each of the six Indian Muslim communities in the phylogenetic assessments for the markers examined. The analyses were further refined by comparison with geographically closest neighboring Hindu religious groups (including several caste and tribal populations) and the populations from Middle East, East Asia and Europe. We found that some of the Muslim populations displayed high level of regional genetic affinity rather than religious affinity. Interestingly, in Dawoodi Bohras (TN and GUJ) and Iranian Shia significant genetic contribution from West Asia, especially Iran (49, 47 and 46%, respectively) was observed. This divulges the existence of Middle Eastern genetic signatures in some of the contemporary Indian Muslim populations. Our study reveals that the spread of Islamic faith in the Indian subcontinent was predominantly cultural transformation associated with minor gene flow from West Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • Autosomal STRs
  • Genetic affinity
  • Genetic signatures
  • Indian Muslims
  • Middle East


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