New article on The Caravan, Indus Valley People Did Not Have Genetic Contribution From The Steppes: Head Of Ancient DNA Lab Testing Rakhigarhi Samples, by Hartosh Singh Val. “The Indus Valley civilization has been an enigma for South Asians. "The insights that emerge from just this single individual demonstrate the enormous promise of ancient DNA studies of South Asia. Hindu nationalists, as Joseph has written, believe that Aryans—who originated in India and spread through Europe and Asia—are the source of Indian civilization. It may have arisen independently in South Asia or spread through cultural contact. A prominent MP even attacked Reich when the preprint came out, tweeting out an article titled, “There Are Lies, Damned Lies and (Harvard’s ‘Third’ Reich and Co’s) Statistics.” Reich, who has experienced how fraught talking about genetics and identity can be, acknowledged the political interest in his work, but declined to get into it. EurekAlert! The team studying I6113 noticed something intriguing about the Iranian-related portion of her ancestry, too. The rest might have been cremated, or their bones simply left uncovered and thus scattered over time. The scientists studied the DNA from the Indus Valley Civilization, while the Aryan migration is said to have happened during the fall of this ancient cvilization. The individual we sequenced fits as a mixture of people related to ancient Iranians (the largest component) and Southeast Asian hunter-gatherers, a unique profile that matches ancient DNA from 11 genetic outliers from sites in Iran and Turkmenistan in cultural communication with the IVC.  @CellPressNews, Copyright © 2021 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Association for the Advancement of Science, Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(19)30967-5. press@cell.com It had agriculture and planned cities and sewage systems. By comparing the results with modern South Asians’ genomes, the study showed that South Asians today descended from a mix of local hunter-gatherers, Iranian-related groups, and steppe pastoralists who came by way of Central Asia. : "An Ancient Harappan Genome Lacks Ancestry from Steppe Pastoralists or Iranian Farmers" https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(19)30967-5. A mainstream view in archaeology has been that people from the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East--home to the earliest evidence of farming--spread across the Iranian plateau and from there into South Asia, bringing with them a new and transformative economic system. The absurdity of asserting what language the Indus Valley people spoke from ancient DNA is obvious. Prof. Shinde is an archaeologist, and asserting his belief on the basis of ancient DNA evidence is straying far outside his academic competence. J. What’s intriguing about I6113’s DNA is what she lacks: any of the steppe ancestry that is widespread in contemporary South Asians. Elusive DNA. The research team behind I6113 is trying to sequence more bones from the Indus Valley civilization. So by the time archeologists and geneticists finally got DNA out of a tiny ear bone from a 4,000-plus-year-old skeleton, they had already tried dozens of samples—all from cemeteries of the mysterious Indus Valley civilization, all without any success. Elusive DNA. The Indus Valley Civilisation ancient DNA data from the Haryana site of Rakhigarhi, which was supposed to be released last month, should add to this picture of the ancestry of South Asian populations. At its peak, the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) stretched from what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan all the way to the northwestern part of India. The second study focuses on just a single genome from the Indus Valley civilization: I6113, a woman who died more than 4,000 years ago. The preprint generated controversy, too, especially the finding that many Indians have ancestry from steppe pastoralists. “We had to squeeze, squeeze, squeeze the sample really hard, more than we’ve done in any other sample we’ve ever tried,” says Reich, who is also a senior author of the second paper. Of course, this is a lot to rest on a single genome. Go back far enough, and both sides trace to the Indus Valley civilization, which appears to be the single largest source of ancestry for modern South Asians. Roughly contemporary to ancient Egypt and the ancient civilizations of China and Mesopotamia, it traded across long distances and developed systematic town planning, elaborate drainage systems, granaries, and standardization of weights and measures. Mark Kenoyer, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who was not an author of either study, cautions that only a small number of people who lived in these cities were buried in cemeteries—probably elites. The absence of steppe DNA markers in the samples indicates that, at that point in time, there had been no intermingling between the steppe pastoralists and the population of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Their genetic similarity to the Rakhigarhi individual makes it likely that these were migrants from the IVC. "The Harappans were one of the earliest civilizations of the ancient world and a major source of Indian culture and traditions, and yet it has been a mystery how they related both to later people as well as to their contemporaries," says Vasant Shinde, an archaeologist at Deccan College, Deemed University in Pune, India, and the chief excavator of the site of Rakhigarhi, who is first author of the study. We read about it in our textbooks,” says Priya Moorjani, a computational biologist at the University of California at Berkeley. The authors declare no competing interests. (Moorjani completed her doctorate in Reich’s lab and is a co-author on this paper.). These 11 people were also “outliers” in their own burial sites. It is hot and it rains. Even before publication, rumors were swirling in India about what the ancient DNA would show, and how it would play into the politics of the Hindu-nationalist ruling party. However, the genetic structure of present-day populations from Northwest India is poorly characterized. “The end of the civilization was quite mysterious.” No one alive today is sure who the people of the Indus Valley civilization were or where they went. Scientist have successfully sequenced DNA from a skeleton belonging to the Indus Valley civilization for the first time, shedding light on origins of modern Indians. The findings appear September 5 in the journal Cell. The two studies piece together a history of how the people of the Indus Valley civilization are related to South Asians today. No DNA from any human being is an indication of what language they spoke. In monsoon season, water seeps into ancient bones in the ground, degrading the old genetic material. "No" is the implication of genetic findings made during an 2015 excavation in Haryana's Rakhigarhi, whose results are expected to feature in the journal Science. Cell, Shinde and Narasimhan et al. Researchers have successfully sequenced the first genome of an individual from the Harappan civilization, also called the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC). It surpassed its contemporaries, Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, in size. After a preliminary version of the large Central and South Asian genomes study was posted on bioRxiv last March, it became the site’s most downloaded preprint of 2018. All this, contained in a half-inch wisp of an ear bone. Does anyone know the coordinates for the Indus Valley samples or anywhere I could find information on … “That would be like taking a single sample from Tokyo and trying to generalize about the whole ancestry of Japan,” Reich admits. Instead, farming started in South Asia through local hunter-gatherers adopting farming. To prevent contamination with modern DNA, team members now wear gowns and masks even while excavating in the field. Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! The Indus Valley Civilisation ancient DNA data from the Haryana site of Rakhigarhi, which was supposed to be released last month, should add to … More than 5,000 years ago, the people of the Indus Valley had planned cities with running water — even household toilets, and roads that would put the Romans to shame, more than 2000 years before Rome was founded. “The cemeteries of the Indus civilization do not represent the people of the Indus civilization. The team made over 100 attempts to sequence the sample. The cities of the Indus Valley Civilization were cosmopolitan places, which also makes it harder to generalize from one genome. Archaeological evidence suggests people traveled between these regions as well. Instead, she appeared to have a mix of Southeast Asian hunter-gatherer and Iranian-related ancestry. This was the Harappan (or Indus Valley) civilisation, which thrived in what is now north-western India and Pakistan around the same time as the Egyptians and Mesopotamians. IMAGE: This is a photograph of a red slipped ware globular pot placed near the head of the skeleton that yielded ancient DNA. But this new study shows that the lineage of Iranian-related ancestry in modern South Asians split from ancient Iranian farmers, herders, and hunter-gatherers before they separated from each other--that is, even before the invention of farming in the Fertile Crescent. It appears to date to before the advent of farming in the Fertile Crescent. In this study, Reich, post-doctoral scientist Vagheesh Narasimhan, and Niraj Rai, who established a new ancient DNA laboratory at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow, India, and led the preparation of the samples, screened 61 skeletal samples from a site in Rakhigarhi, the largest city of the IVC. provides eligible reporters with free access to embargoed and breaking news releases. And then, it disappeared. The first study is a sweeping collection of 523 genomes—300 to 12,000 years old—from a region spanned by Iran, Russia, and India. Razib Khan reports on his new website about an article by Tony Joseph, Who built the Indus Valley civilisation?, itself referring to the potential upcoming results of a genetic analysis project involving Rakhigarhi, the biggest Harappan site.. New Delhi: The study of DNA samples of the skeletons found in Rakhigarhi, an Indus Valley Civilisation site in Haryana, has found no traces of the R1a1 gene or Central Asian ‘steppe’ genes, loosely termed as the ‘Aryan gene’. Niraj Rai, a geneticist who was a visiting fellow in Reich’s lab, also set up an ancient-DNA lab at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow, India, where I6113’s DNA was extracted. Read: Ancient DNA is rewriting human (and Neanderthal) history. EurekAlert! The discovery of the double helical structure of the DNA by the Watson and The absence of this genetic imprint in the first genome sample of an individual from the Indus Valley culture will bolster what is already a consensus among genetic scientists, historians and philologists: that the Indus Valley culture preceded and was distinct from this population of cattle-herding, horse-rearing, chariot-driving, battle-axe-wielding, proto-Sanskrit-speaking migrants whose ancestry is most evident in high-caste North … Even 5,000 years ago, they had urban centers and towns with baked brick houses and an elaborate underground drainage system. In 2016, archaeologists and scientists from India and South Korea found these two "very rare" skeletons in a Harappan (or Indus Valley) city - what is … Cracking the DNA code of Indus Valley Genetics & Cytology Abstract Introduction The quest of creation is quest of human mind from dawn of the Civilization on the earth. The Indus Valley Civilization is as mysterious as Atlantis, except that we know the Indus Valley Civilization was very real. Gathering ancient DNA from the Indus Valley is an enormous challenge, Vagheesh Narasimhan, one of the leading authors of the new … Read: The mystery of ‘Skeleton Lake’ gets deeper. Shinde et al. Context: A study of DNA from skeletal remains excavated from the Harappan cemetery at Rakhigarhi argues that the hunter-gatherers of South Asia- people from Indus Valley Civilisation, who then became a settled people, have an independent origin. By Asian Scientist Newsroom Ancient DNA Gives A Peek Into South Asian Ancestry Researchers have sequenced millennia-old DNA from an individual belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization, showing that modern Indians are likely to have descended from this ancient culture. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The climate of South Asia is not kind to ancient DNA. They make it clear that future studies of much larger numbers of individuals from a variety of archaeological sites and locations have the potential to transform our understanding of the deep history of the subcontinent.". To sequence I6113’s DNA is to draw genetic connections between an ancient civilization and the people who live in the region today, to add fuel to arguments about who can lay claim to a cultural inheritance.
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