Hyderabad: Genetic study by researchers from Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences (BSIP), Lucknow, on Roman Catholics of Goa, Kumta and Mangaluru region has concluded that they are the remnants of very early lineages of Brahmin community of India.
Our genetic study revealed that majority of the Roman Catholics are genetically close to an early lineage of Gaur Saraswat community”, said Chief Scientist, CCMB and Director, CDFD and senior author of the study, Dr Kumarasamy Thangaraj
“They (researchers) concluded that the Roman Catholics of Goa, Kumta and Mangaluru regions are the remnants of very early lineages of Brahmin community of India, majorly with Indo-European-specific genetic composition. This study found consequences of Portuguese inquisition in Goa on the population history of Roman Catholics. They also found some indication of Jewish component,” CCMB said.
“More than 40 per cent of their (Roman Catholics) paternally inherited Y chromosomes can be grouped under R1a haplogroup. Such a genetic signal is prevalent among populations of north India, middle East and Europe, and unique to this population in Konkan region,” Dr Thangaraj said.
As part of the study, the researchers analysed DNA of 110 individuals from Roman Catholic community of Goa, Kumta and Mangalore. They compared the genetic information of the group with previously published DNA data from India and West Eurasia. They put this information alongside archaeological, linguistic and historical records.
All of these helped the researchers fill in many of the key details about the demographic changes and history of the Roman Catholic population of South West of India since the Iron Age (until around 2,500 years ago), and how they relate to the contemporary Indian population, according to a statement from CCMB .
“This multi-disciplinary study using history, anthropology and genetics information have helped us in understanding the population history of Roman Catholics from one of the most diverse and multi-cultural region of our country”, said Dr. Vinay K Nandikoori, Director, CCMB.