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Genetic studies on Sinhalese

genetic studies on sinhalese people, genetic studies on sinhalese language
Genetic studies on the Sinhalese is part of population genetics investigating the origins of the Sinhalese populations today

Some of the older studies looking at the origin of the Sinhalese erroneously suggest a predominantly Tamil origin followed by a significant Bengali contribution with a slight North Western Indian contribution While modern studies using more sophisticated testing point towards a predominantly Bengali contribution and a minor South Indian Tamil and North Western Indian contribution respectively

All studies agree however, that there is a significant relationship between the Sinhalese and the South Indian Tamils and Bengalis and that there is a significant genetic relationship between Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese, them being closer to each other than other South Asian populations This is also supported by a genetic distance study, which showed low differences in genetic distance between the Sinhalese and the Tamil, Keralite and Bengali volunteers


  • 1 Predominantly Bengali origin
  • 2 Relationship to other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka
  • 3 Relationship to East and Southeast Asians
  • 4 Skin pigmentation
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Predominantly Bengali origin

Genetic26526 admixture of Sinhalese by Dr Saha Papiha

An Alu polymorphism analysis of Sinhalese from Colombo by Dr Sarabjit Mastanain in 2007 using Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati Patel, and Punjabi as parental populations found different proportions of genetic contribution:

Statistical Method Bengali Tamil North Western
Point Estimate 5749% 425% -
Maximum Likelihood Method 8807% - -
Using Tamil, Bengali and North West as parenteral population 50-66% 11-30% 20-23%

A genetic distance analysis by Dr Robet Kirk also concluded that the modern Sinhalese are most closely related to the Bengalis

This is further substantiated by a VNTR study, which found 70-82% of Sinhalese genes to originate from Bengali admixture:

Parenteral population Bengali Tamil Gujarati Punjabi
Using Tamil and Bengali as parenteral population 7003% 2997% -
Using Tamil, Bengali and Gujarati as parenteral population 7182% 1638% 1182%
Using Bengal, Gujarati and Punjabi as parenteral population 8209% - 1539% 252%

D1S80 allele frequency A popular allele for genetic fingerprinting is also similar between the Sinhalese and Bengalis, suggesting the two groups are closely related The Sinhalese also have similar frequencies of the allele MTHFR 677T 13% to West Bengalis 17%

A test for Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups conducted by Dr Toomas Kivisild on Sinhalese of Sri Lanka has shown that 23% of the subjects were R1a1a R-SRY1532 positive Also in the same test 241% of the subjects were R2 positive as subclades of Haplogroup P 92R7 Haplogroup R2 is also found in a considerable percentage among Bengalis of India Sample size used was 87 subjects

These findings are compatible with the historical chronicles the Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa Which describe a Vanga prince Prince Vijayafrom Sinhapura in Lata or Lala of being an early settler of Sri Lanka and the progenitor of the Sinhalese The Vangas are generally identified as Bengalis On the other hand, Lata is identified with modern-day Gujarat, and Sinhapura with modern Sihor in the Kathiawar peninsular of Gujarat Furthermore, the Mahawamsa states that Vijaya landed first at Supparaka identified with modern Sopara, in the Thane district of Maharashtra, while the Dipavamsa mentions 'Suppara' and a further intermediate port, Bharukkaccha modern Bharuch, a port in Gujarat, at the mouth of the Narmada Vijaya's grandfather was reputed to be a lion, and lions have not lived in Bengal in historic times, while they have in Gujarat so it was possible that the lion image was borrowed from there

Genetic distance of Sinhalese to other ethnic groups in the Indian Subcontinent according to an Alu Polymorphism analysis Genetic distance of Sinhalese to other ethnic groups

A study in 2007 found similar frequencies of the allele HLA-A02 in sinhalese 74% and North Indian subjects 67% HLA-A02 is a rare allele which has a relatively high frequency in North Indian populations and is considered to be a novel allele among the North Indian population This suggests possible North Indian origin of the Sinhalese

Linguistically the Sinhalese are closer to North Indians than South Indians, as the Sinhala language is a member of the Indo-Aryan languages On the other hand, South Indians speak languages belonging to the Dravidian languages The Sinhalese therefore can trace a connection to their North Indian origins through this Not only this but the Sinhalese predominantly follow Theravada Buddhism and for centuries maintained strong connections with North Eastern India, while it too was predominantly Buddhist This further strengthens the connection of migration between the two well after the believed initial North Indian migration to Sri Lanka

Relationship to other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka

A study looking at genetic variation of the FUT2 gene in the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamil population, found similar genetic backgrounds for both ethnic groups, with little genetic flow from other neighbouring Asian population groups Studies have also found no significant difference with regards to blood group, blood genetic markers and single-nucleotide polymorphism between the Sinhalese and other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka Another study has also found "no significant genetic variation among the major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka" This is further supported by a study which found very similar frequencies of alleles MTHFR 677T, F2 20210A & F5 1691A in South Indian Tamil, Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamil and Moor populations

Relationship to East and Southeast Asians

Genetic studies show that the Sinhalese have received some genetic flow from neighboring populations in East Asia and Southeast Asia, such as from the ethnically diverse and disparate Sino-Tibetan-speaking peoples and Austro-Asiatic peoples, which is due to their close genetic links to Northeast India A 1985 study conducted by Roychoudhury AK and Nei M, indicated the values of genetic distance showed that the Sinhalese people were slightly closer to Mongoloid populations due to gene exchange in the past In regards to comparisons of root and canal morphology of Sri Lankan mandibular molars, it showed that they were further away from Mongoloid populations Among haplogroups found in East Asian populations, a lower frequency of East Asian mtDNA haplogroup, G has been found among the populations of Sri Lanka alongside haplogroup D in conjunction with the main mtDNA haplogroup of Sri Lanka's ethnic groups, haplogroup M In regards to Y-DNA, Haplogroup C-M130 is found at low to moderate frequencies in Sri Lanka

Genetic markers of immunoglobulin among the Sinhalese show high frequencies of afb1b3 which has its origins in the Yunnan and Guangxi provinces of southern China It is also found at high frequencies among Bengalis, certain Nepali and Northeast Indian, southern Han Chinese, Southeast Asian and certain Austronesian populations of the Pacific Islands At a lower frequency, ab3st is also found among the Sinhalese and is generally found at higher frequencies among northern Han Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Korean and Japanese populations The Transferrin TFDchi allele which is common among East Asian and Native American populations is also found among the Sinhalese HumDN14 and HumDN15 are the predominant DNase I genes among the Sinhalese and are also the predominant genes among southern Chinese ethnic groups and the Tamang people of Nepal A 1988 study conducted by N Saha, showed the high GC1F and low GC1S frequencies among the Sinhalese are comparable to those of the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Malays, Vietnamese, Laotians and Tibetans A 1998 study conducted by DE Hawkey showed dental morphology of the Sinhalese is closely related to those of the Austro-Asiatic populations of East and Northeast India Hemoglobin E a variant of normal hemoglobin, which originated in and is prevalent among populations in Southeast Asia, is also common among the Sinhalese and can reach up to 40% in Sri Lanka

Skin pigmentation

In 2008 a study looked at SLC24A5 polymorphism which accounts for 25-40% of the skin complexion difference between Europeans and Africans and up to 30% of skin colour variation in South Asians The study found that the rs1426654 SNP of SLC24A5, which is fixed in European populations and found more commonly in light skinned individuals than dark skinned individuals 49% compared to 10%, has a frequency of 50-55% in the Sinhalese and 25-30% in Sri Lankan Tamils This allele could have arisen in the Sinhalese due to strong East Asian genetic admixture, further migration from North India or strong selection factors


  1. ^ Kshatriya GK December 1995 "Genetic affinities of Sri Lankan populations" Human Biology 67 6: 843–66 PMID 8543296 
  2. ^ a b Saha, N 1988 "Blood genetic markers in Sri Lankan populations—reappraisal of the legend of Prince Vijaya" American Journal of Physical Anthropology 76 2: 217–25 doi:101002/ajpa1330760210 PMID 3166342 
  3. ^ a b c Kirk, R L 1976 "The legend of Prince Vijaya — a study of Sinhalese origins" American Journal of Physical Anthropology 45 1: 91–99 doi:101002/ajpa1330450112 
  4. ^ a b Papiha SS, Mastana SS, Purandare CA, Jayasekara R, Chakraborty R October 1996 "Population genetic study of three VNTR loci D2S44, D7S22, and D12S11 in five ethnically defined populations of the Indian subcontinent" Human Biology 68 5: 819–35 PMID 8908803 
  5. ^ a b http://wwwkrepublisherscom/06-Special%20Volume-Journal/T-Anth-00-Special%20Volumes/T-Anth-SI-03-Anth-Today-Web/Anth-SI-03-29-Mastana-S/Anth-SI-03-29-Mastana-S-Ttpdf
  6. ^ Surinder Singh Papiha 1999 Genomic Diversity: Applications in Human Population Genetics London: Springer 7
  7. ^ Mukhopadhyay, 2007 K Mukhopadhyay et al, MTHFR gene polymorphisms analyzed in population from Kolkata, West Bengal, Indian J Human Genet 13 2007, p 38
  8. ^ a b Vajira HW Dissanayake, Lakshini Y Weerasekera, C Gayani Gammulla, Rohan W Jayasekara, Prevalence of genetic thrombophilic polymorphisms in the Sri Lankan population -- implications for association study design and clinical genetic testing services, Experimental and Molecular Pathology, Volume 87, Issue 2, October 2009, Pages 159-162
  9. ^ a b Kivisild, Toomas; et al 2003 "The Genetics of Language and Farming Spread in India" In Bellwood P, Renfrew C Examining the farming/language dispersal hypothesis PDF Cambridge, United Kingdom: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research pp 215–222 CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter link
  10. ^ Malavige, G N; Rostron, T; Seneviratne, S L; Fernando, S; Sivayogan, S; Wijewickrama, A; Ogg, G S 2007 "HLA analysis of Sri Lankan Sinhalese predicts North Indian origin" International Journal of Immunogenetics 34 5: 313–5 doi:101111/j1744-313X200700698x PMID 17845299 
  11. ^ Indo-Aryan languages
  12. ^ Soejima M, Koda Y December 2005 "Denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography-based genotyping and genetic variation of FUT2 in Sri Lanka" Transfusion 45 12: 1934–9 doi:101111/j1537-2995200500651x PMID 16371047 
  13. ^ D F Roberts, C K Creen, K P Abeyaratne, Man, New Series, Vol 7, No 1 Mar, 1972, pp 122-127, Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Stable URL: https://wwwjstororg/stable/2799860
  14. ^ Dissanayake VH, Giles V, Jayasekara RW, et al April 2009 "A study of three candidate genes for pre-eclampsia in a Sinhalese population from Sri Lanka" The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research 35 2: 234–42 doi:101111/j1447-0756200800926x PMID 19708171 
  15. ^ Ruwan J Illeperuma, Samudi N Mohotti, Thilini M De Silva, Neil D Fernandopulle, WD Ratnasooriya, Genetic profile of 11 autosomal STR loci among the four major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, Forensic Science International: Genetics, Volume 3, Issue 3, June 2009, Pages e105-e106
  16. ^ a b Hawkey, D E 1998 "Out of Asia: Dental evidence for affinity and microevolution of early and recent populations of India and Sri Lanka" 
  17. ^ Soejima, Mikiko; Koda, Yoshiro 2006 "Population differences of two coding SNPs in pigmentation-related genes SLC24A5 and SLC45A2" International Journal of Legal Medicine 121 1: 36–9 doi:101007/s00414-006-0112-z PMID 16847698 
  18. ^ Kivisild T, Rootsi S, Metspalu M, Mastana S, Kaldma K, Parik J, Metspalu E, Adojaan M, Tolk HV, Stepanov V, Gölge M, Usanga E, Papiha SS, Cinnioğlu C, King R, Cavalli-Sforza L, Underhill PA, Villems R 2003 "The genetic heritage of the earliest settlers persists both in Indian tribal and caste populations" American Journal of Human Genetics 72 2: 313–32 doi:101086/346068 PMC 379225  PMID 12536373 
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  20. ^ a b Roychoudhury AK; Nei M 1985 "Genetic relationships between Indians and their neighboring populations" PDF Hum Hered 35: 201–6 doi:101159/000153545 PMID 4029959 
  21. ^ M K Bhasin 2009 "Morphology to Molecular Anthropology: Castes and Tribes of India" PDF Int J Hum Genet 
  22. ^ Peiris, Roshan; Takahashi, Masami; Sasaki, Kayoko; Kanazawa, Eisaku 2007 "Root and canal morphology of permanent mandibular molars in a Sri Lankan population" Odontology 95 1: 16–23 doi:101007/s10266-007-0074-8 PMID 17660977 
  23. ^ http://wwwnaturecom/jhg/journal/v59/n1/full/jhg2013112ahtml
  24. ^ "Y-DNA Haplogroup C and its Subclades - 2017" International Society of Genetic Genealogy Retrieved 31 May 2017 
  25. ^ a b c Hideo Matsumoto 2009 "The origin of the Japanese race based on genetic markers of immunoglobulin G" Proc Jpn Acad Ser B Phys Biol Sci 85 2: 69–82 doi:102183/pjab8569 PMC 3524296  PMID 19212099 
  26. ^ Fujihara, J; Yasuda, T; Iida, R; Ueki, M; Sano, R; Kominato, Y; Inoue, K; Kimura-Kataoka, K; Takeshita, H "Global analysis of genetic variations in a 56-bp variable number of tandem repeat polymorphisms within the human deoxyribonuclease I gene" Leg Med Tokyo 17: 283–6 doi:101016/jlegalmed201501005 PMID 25771153 
  27. ^ https://booksgooglecom/booksid=U6WhkmvI324C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
  28. ^ https://booksgooglecom/booksid=2grSBwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
  29. ^ a b Soejima M, Koda Y January 2007 "Population differences of two coding SNPs in pigmentation-related genes SLC24A5 and SLC45A2" International Journal of Legal Medicine 121 1: 36–9 doi:101007/s00414-006-0112-z PMID 16847698 
  30. ^ Stanford University 2009 rs1426654 Chromosome chr15:46213776 Available: http://hgdpuchicagoedu/cgi-bin/alfreqscgipos=46213776&chr=chr15&rs=rs1426654&imp=true Last accessed 3 March 2010

External links

genetic studies on sinhalese alphabet, genetic studies on sinhalese language, genetic studies on sinhalese people, genetic studies on sinhalese songs

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Genetic studies on Sinhalese

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