Let's take a look at the Bengali participants of the Harappa Ancestry Project.

I have added a suffix to the IDs where B = Brahmin, V = Vaidya and M = Muslim.

Here are the HarappaWorld Admixture results for the Bengalis which you can also see in a spreadsheet.

It's easy to see the difference between the Brahmins and others.

Razib wanted to know the origin of the East Asian ancestry among the Bengalis. So I ran a supervised ADMIXTURE with the following populations set as ancestral:

  • Altaian
  • Burmanese
  • Buryat
  • Cambodian
  • Chukchi
  • Dai
  • Daur
  • Dolgan
  • Evenki
  • Georgian
  • Gujarati-A
  • Han
  • Han-NChina
  • Hezhen
  • Japanese
  • Ket
  • Kinh
  • Koryak
  • Lahu
  • Miao
  • Mongola
  • Mongolian
  • Naxi
  • Nganassan
  • Oroqen
  • Selkup
  • She
  • Singapore-Malay
  • Tibet
  • Tu
  • Tujia
  • Tuvinian
  • Xibo
  • Yakut
  • Yi
  • Yukaghir

While most of these populations are various East Asian groups, I used the Gujarati-A as the South Asian group since it has the most South Indian + Baloch components without any East Asian influence. I used the Georgians as a proxy for West Asian ancestry.

Since it's K=36, I ran ADMIXTURE 10 times with different seeds and computed the average percentages for the Bengali participants. The number of SNPs was about 85,565. I did a similar analysis at K=35 after excluding the Tibetans, which got me 263,000 SNPs. The results were broadly similar.

I am showing only the first 12 ancestral components since all the rest were less than 0.5% for all the Bengalis (Spreadsheet).

Please do remember that in supervised ADMIXTURE, I assign the ancestral populations and the algorithm has to find the best fit using those populations. So it's not showing actual ancestry but broad affinity. Also, the exact percentages are not important and can vary when I change the parameters of the analysis. Just look at the broad trends.

The general pattern is that Bengali Brahmins have the least Eastern Eurasian and the most West Asian. The Eastern Eurasian ethnicity most closely related to Bengalis is Burmese.

Interestingly, there is a pattern of a small amount of Siberian ancestry among these Bengalis. Let's add all the Siberian and Russian Far East groups.

ID Ethnicity Siberian
HRP0244 West Bengal Rajput 5.07%
HRP0077B Bengali Brahmin 5.01%
HRP0049 Bengali 4.45%
HRP0252B Bengali Brahmin 4.01%
HRP0268B Bengali Brahmin 3.90%
HRP0023M Bengali Muslim 3.54%
HRP0316B Bengali Brahmin 3.45%
HRP0054B Bengali Brahmin 3.41%
HRP0300M Bengali Muslim 2.95%
HRP0240V Bengali Vaidya 1.78%
HRP0293B Bengali Brahmin 1.02%
HRP0291V Bengali Vaidya 0.99%
HRP0317M Bengali Muslim 0.89%
HRP0321M Bengali Muslim 0.58%
HRP0322M Bengali Muslim 0.41%
HRP0022M Bengali Muslim 0.37%
HRP0091B Bengali Brahmin 0.01%

I am not sure of the pattern here, but at least the first few are above noise thresholds.


  1. Good analysis; but I am not able to conclude much. Do you have any analyses to show the siberian components of tibetans or chinese from sichuan/Yunnn for comparison?

    • You can check the HarappaWorld admixture results for the various southwestern Chinese groups. Also, for the supervised ADMIXTURE, these groups are included in the list of ancestral populations and do not show any contribution to Bengali results.

      • Zack thank you very much for providing the analysis on Bengalis...
        ''Interestingly, there is a pattern of a small amount of Siberian ancestry among these Bengalis''
        It can be a token of Y-DNA P ancestry and since we know its Descendants are Y-DNA Q and R and there is a chance that P originated In Central Asia Near Siberia and Bengalis do have a good share of R1a1a and R2a in their genome?
        Good day.....

  2. Zack,

    If we discount the Burmese, how close would the Bengal Brahmans would be to me? Is an IBD check possible? There are supposed to be two main types of Brahmans in Bengal - Kolanch (supposed to be near Kannauj) and Saptashati. Are all the Bengal Brahmans in your data-set the former? If so, they should be quite close to me, as both my paternal (Madarpur, UP) and maternal (Jajmau, UP) lines 'claim' [such claims are common but with little or no evidence] Kannaujia ancestry prior to the Mughal period.

    • Have you tried running HarappaWorld Oracle on your admixture results? My guess is that you'll be closer to UP Brahmins than Bengali ones due to the Eastern Eurasian ancestry in Bengal.

      Chromopainter analysis was a long time ago but I think I had a couple of Bengali Brahmins in there too, you can check your chunkcount results in the individual file.

      • Thanks Zack.
        I had not tried the latest one. Yes the UP Brahmins are the closest.

        [1,] "up-brahmin_harappa_3" "3.2755"
        [2,] "brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8" "4.1665"
        [3,] "vaish_reich_4" "5.9765"
        [4,] "bengali-brahmin_harappa_6" "6.0143"
        [5,] "nepalese-a_xing_12" "6.0154"
        [6,] "bihari-muslim_harappa_4" "6.0479"
        [7,] "up_harappa_5" "6.3828"
        [8,] "gujarati-b_hapmap_34" "6.4128"
        [9,] "up-kshatriya_metspalu_7" "6.7141"
        [10,] "punjabi-ramgarhia_harappa_2" "6.8615"

        The top mixed-modes also makes sense as there is a possible Gurjjar connection.

        [1,] "44.8% gujarati-a_1000genomes_5 + 55.2% haryana-jatt_harappa_5"
        [2,] "90.9% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 9.1% brahui_hgdp_25"
        [3,] "83.4% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 16.6% burusho_hgdp_25"
        [4,] "76.6% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 23.4% punjabi-arain_xing_25"
        [5,] "32.4% punjabi-jatt_harappa_8 + 67.6% vaish_reich_4"
        [6,] "31.8% haryana-jatt_harappa_5 + 68.2% up-kshatriya_metspalu_7"
        [7,] "44% gujarati-a_hapmap_63 + 56% haryana-jatt_harappa_5"
        [8,] "80.4% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 19.6% sindhi_hgdp_24"
        [9,] "9.8% balochi_hgdp_24 + 90.2% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8"
        [10,] "67% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 33% singapore-indian-c_sgvp_10

        [1,] "63.5% gujarati_harappa_3 + 36.5% haryana-jatt_harappa_5" "2.2513"
        [2,] "42.7% gujarati-patel_harappa_2 + 57.3% haryana-jatt_harappa_5" "2.2608"
        [3,] "44.8% gujarati-a_1000genomes_5 + 55.2% haryana-jatt_harappa_5" "2.4355"
        [4,] "68.5% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 31.5% kashmiri-pahari_harappa_2" "2.4468"
        [5,] "25.1% bhatia_harappa_2 + 74.9% vaish_reich_4" "2.451"
        [6,] "90.9% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 9.1% brahui_hgdp_25" "2.4798"
        [7,] "83.4% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 16.6% burusho_hgdp_25" "2.4842"
        [8,] "76.6% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 23.4% punjabi-arain_xing_25" "2.4988"
        [9,] "65.7% brahmin-uttar-pradesh_metspalu_8 + 34.3% punjabi-ramgarhia_harappa_2" "2.5082"
        [10,] "32.4% punjabi-jatt_harappa_8 + 67.6% vaish_reich_4" "2.5169"

        [1,] "94.6% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1 + 5.4% rajasthani-brahmin_harappa_1" "0.8985"
        [2,] "94.2% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1 + 5.8% punjabi-ramgarhia_harappa_2" "0.9186"
        [3,] "95.3% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1 + 4.7% punjabi-brahmin_harappa_2" "0.9355"
        [4,] "96.9% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1 + 3.1% punjabi-jatt_harappa_8" "0.9361"
        [5,] "95.1% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1 + 4.9% singapore-indian-c_sgvp_10" "0.9397"
        [6,] "97.5% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1 + 2.5% haryana-jatt_harappa_5" "0.9453"
        [7,] "2% bhatia_harappa_2 + 98% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1" "0.9494"
        [8,] "98.4% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1 + 1.6% kalash_hgdp_23" "0.9516"
        [9,] "96.1% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1 + 3.9% kashmiri-pahari_harappa_2" "0.958"
        [10,] "98.4% bihari-brahmin_harappa_1 + 1.6% pathan_hgdp_23" "0.9636"

        • The Nepalese A samples also includes one Terai sample. Must be a Terai Brahmin if you ask me. That sample would probably be the closest to you.

  3. Speaking of East Asians in the Himalayas, where would Nepal's Kirat population cluster? Since they are a Tibeto Burman group, I would assume with the Burmese. Xing had a couple of Magar samples I believe. The Sherpas should cluster with the Tibetans. Various North Nepal groups close to the mountains should cluster with the Tibetans.
    Essentially speaking, Tibetans and Tibeto Burmans are a different population at least based on where they cluster.

  4. Bengalis | Harappa Ancestry Project | culturalandscape - pingback on August 10, 2013 at 8:53 am
  5. with reference to HRP0317 and HRP0321, who are unrelated Bengali muslims from the northeast of Bangladesh:

  6. It is interesting that, though they claim Brahmin affiliations, genetically the Vaidyas seem more similar to Bengali Muslims in their admixture. This analysis seems to suggest that migrations from northern India mostly affected Bengali Brahmins, and not the other caste groups in Bengal.

  7. Also, though the sample size is small, it is quite easy to distinguish the Brahmins from the Vaidyas and Muslims: Brahmins have the highest Baloch+Caucasian+NE Euro and the lowest SE Asian+Siberian+NE Asian. This again confirming historic accounts of a northern provenance of Bengali Brahmins coupled with limited gene flow across caste lines.

  8. Would this (Burmese being the closest match) apply to the East Asian in the rest of South Asians?

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