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South Asia Regional DNA Project

One Family Project

The One Family One World Project is a partnership between Living DNA and Eupedia initiated in 2017. The project aims to map the regional genetic variations of the world with a great level of detail and accuracy in order to improve our understanding of both recent and ancient migrations and see how humans are all connected with one another as one big family.

Genetic variations within South Asia

South Asia is the most densely populated part of the world along with eastern China. Contrarily to eastern China though, South Asia is hugely diverse in terms of ethnic groups and languages. India alone is home to over 1,700 languages, about of quarter of the world's languages, which include most Eurasian language families (Indo-European, Dravidian, Austronesian, Sino-Tibetan, Tai–Kadai, Semitic). Afghanistan has in addition Turkic ethnic-linguistic groups like the Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Turkmens.

To make things more complicated, some people adopted languages from other ethnic groups. This is for example the case of the Siddi, who are descended from the Bantu peoples of the African Great Lakes region, were brought as slaves to western India and southern Pakistan and adopted local languages. In Afghanistan, the Hazaras are of Turko-Mongol origins, but adopted the Persian language. This shows that language and ethnicity is not always linked.

Nowadays there are some 430 million native speakers of Hindi spread over a big part of North India, but numerous regional groups may have adopted it for socio-cultural or economic reasons over time and may hide a number of genetically distinct people.

Furthermore, the caste system was established by early Indo-Aryan invaders to segregate the Indo-Aryan ruling class from the indigenous population. As people were traditionally prohibited from marrying outside their caste, each caste in each region and in each linguistic group would have evolved separately over the last 3,500 years, probably creating distinctly recognisable groups at the genetic level.

Objective & Methodology

This project aims at unravelling the regional genetic variations between the different ethnic, linguistic and religious groups found in South Asia.

To determine the boundaries between proposed genetic regions we took into account the location of the main modern ethnic and linguistic groups. Due to their high population, Hindi speakers were divided in Haryanvi, Hindustani, Awadhi, Braj Bhasha (including Kannauji), East Hindi (including Bihari Hindi), Bundeli, Bagheli and Chhattisgarhi dialects.

We believe that religious and tribal affiliations also influenced the way genes spread in the population over time, as people tended to marry much more frequently within the confines of their own social and religious group.

Participants will be able to specify their ancestral region, native language, religion and (if applicable) caste or tribal group.

Proposed genetic regions of South Asia

Our preliminary research indicates at least 80 areas of South Asia may have distinct genetic differences.

Proposed genetic divisions of South Asia - One Family One World DNA Project
  • Aimaq
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Arkanese
  • Arunachal Pradesh tribes
  • Assamese
  • Awadhi
  • Bagheli
  • Balochi
  • Balti
  • Bengali
  • Bhili
  • Bhutanese
  • Bihari
  • Boroks
  • Brahui
  • Braj Bhasha
  • Bundeli
  • Ceylon Tamils
  • Chen
  • Chhattisgarhi
  • Dakhini
  • Doghri
  • East Hindi
  • Garo
  • Garwhali
  • Gondi
  • Gujarati
  • Haryanvi
  • Hazaras
  • Highland Sinhalese
  • Hindustani
  • Ho
  • India Punjabi
  • Kannada
  • Kashmiri
  • Khasi
  • Kho
  • Kirati
  • Konkani
  • Kumaoni
  • Kurukhs
  • Kyrgyz
  • Ladakhi
  • Lambadi
  • Lowland Sinhalese
  • Madhya Pradesh Tribes
  • Magar
  • Maithils
  • Malayali
  • Maldives
  • Malwi
  • Manipur Tribes
  • Marathi
  • Mizo
  • Munda
  • Naga
  • Newar
  • Nimadi
  • Nuristani
  • Oriya
  • Pahari
  • Pakistan Punjabi
  • Pashtuns
  • Rajasthani
  • Santhals
  • Shina
  • Sikkimese
  • Sindhi
  • Sri Lankan Moors
  • Sylheti
  • Tajiks
  • Tamang
  • Tamils
  • Telugu
  • Tibetan Nepali
  • Tulu
  • Turkmens
  • Uzbeks
  • West Bengali
  • West Pahari

How do I qualify?

The One Family project is open to everyone worldwide and has two parts.

  • 1. To build a genetic family tree of everyone from around the world, regardless of where your family comes from.
  • 2. To build a regional genetic breakdown of ancestry within countries, similar to 'The Peopling of the British Isles project'. This part of the project is looking for people with all four grandparents born within 80km (50mi) of each other inside our project areas of interest.

If you have already tested with Living DNA, all you need to do to join the project is log into your account, click on the Research tab and choose to participate in our global ancestry research project, if you haven't already done it.

If you already tested your DNA with another company (23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, or FTDNA's Family Finder), you can join the project here for free. After submitting the form with your family information, you will receive an email to confirm the creation of your Living DNA account and will be asked to upload your genome there for free.

If you have not yet tested your DNA with one of the above companies, then you will need to order a Living DNA test to take part.

The data provided as part of the project is kept strictly private and confidential under Living DNA’s ISO:27001 certification for information security. Please read Living DNA's Privacy Policy for more information.

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