A study conducted by Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has revealed that one-third of the population of South Asia is vulnerable to rare genetic diseases.
The 1.5 billion people of South Asia are more vulnerable to rare genetic population-specific diseases than elsewhere in the world because of the endogamous marriages or marrying within the same ethnicity, community, caste, etc.
South Asia is inhabited by about 5,000 anthropologically well-defined populations, many of which are endogamous.
The new study was led by scientist Kumarasamy Thangaraj of CSIR-CCMB and David Reich of Harvard Medical School in collaboration with colleagues from other institutes.
The study analyzed samples from more than 2,800 individuals from over 275 distinct South Asian populations who belong to various social and linguistic groups from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh using about 6,00,000 genome-wide markers.
The authors found that 81 out of 263 unique South Asian groups, including 14 groups with estimated census sizes of over a million, have a strong founder event than the one that occurred in both Finns and Ashkenazi Jews in the West.
Thangaraj said that our study provides an opportunity for discovering population-specific disease causing genes in communities known to have strong founder events.