Wondering about DNA & ancestors

I have this crazy habit of looking up what people write about Maldivians, about Maldives, and about our culture and way of living.

In today’s rendezvous I came across a very fascinating research. I am not a person with scientific background, hence, some of the terminologies and explanations happens to go above my head. Nonetheless, the findings and discussions are quite interesting. I am reproducing the abstract here for anyone who cares to look at it.

The Maldives are an 850 km-long string of atolls located centrally in the northern Indian Ocean basin. Because of this geographic situation, the present-day Maldivian population has potential for uncovering genetic signatures of historic migration events in the region. We therefore studied autosomal DNA-, mito-chondrial DNA-, and Y-chromosomal DNA markers in a representative sample of 141 unrelated Maldivians, with 119 from six major settlements. We found a total of 63 different mtDNA haplotypes that could be allocated to 29 mtDNA haplogroups, mostly within the M, R, and U clades. We found 66 different Y-STR haplotypes in 10 Y-chromosome haplogroups, predominantly H1, J2, L, R1a1a, and R2. Parental admixture analysis for mtDNA- and Y-haplogroup data indicates a strong genetic link between the Maldive Islands and mainland South Asia, and excludes significant gene flow from Southeast Asia. Paternal admixture from West Asia is detected, but cannot be distinguished from admixture from South Asia. Maternal admixture from West Asia is excluded. Within the Maldives, we find a subtle genetic substructure in all marker systems that is not directly related to geographic distance or linguistic dialect. We found reduced Y-STR diversity and reduced male-mediated gene flow between atolls, suggesting independent male founder effects for each atoll. Detected reduced female-mediated gene flow between atolls confirms a Maldives-specific history of matrilocality. In conclusion, our new genetic data agree with the commonly reported Maldivian ancestry in South Asia, but furthermore suggest multiple, independent immigration events and asymmetrical migration of females and males across the archipelago.


  • Pijpe, J.; de Voogt, A.; van Oven, M.; Henneman, P.; van der Gaag, K.J.; Kayser, M. and de Knijff, P. (2013). Indian Ocean Crossroads: Human Genetic Origin and Population Structure in the Maldives. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 151 (1), 58–67.

The full text is available here.

As usual, I am also fascinated with the reference list. Citations are one of the basis of strengthening a research paper, I believe. On this particular paper, the one citation I want to hightlight is:

Furuumi H, Firdous N, Inoue T, Ohta H, Winichagoon P, Fucharoen S, Fukumaki Y. 1998. Molecular basis of beta-thalassemia in the Maldives. Hemoglobin 22:141–151

I am assuming the paper is co-authored by Dr. Naila Firdous.


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I write as I think. I think as I write.

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