Nepali Brahmins tend to have Tibeto-Burman ancestry


I ran a Clubhouse last night on Nepalese genetics. I said something to the effect that most Nepalese Brahmins have Tibetan admixture. A Nepalese Brahmin came up on stage to tell me this was inaccurate, and that they did not intermarry with native people.

To give the benefit of the doubt I went back and double-checked, and Toward a more uniform sampling of human genetic diversity: A survey of worldwide populations by high-density genotyping, which has a diverse set of Nepalese. What you see on the PCA is pretty straightforward. Except for the Madeshi, who is presumed to descend from recent migrants from India, all the Nepalese are Tibetan shifted.

The rank order is what you’d expect, with the Magar being mostly Tibetan, and the Brahmins being mostly non-Tibetan. But the Nepalese guy was totally full of shit. I’m sick of listening to people contradict genetics when it’s so clear.

10 thoughts on “Nepali Brahmins tend to have Tibeto-Burman ancestry

  1. Btw are most Indians genetically closer to South Indians or North Indians?
    And does “lower caste” here mean “Dalits”?

    1. Most Indians would be similar to Kanjars in the Cow belt, Patels in the west and Nadars in the South. Only subtle difference in AASI and overall Western Eurasian in these groups; however, Iran related genes increase in the south and west and steppe is higher in the cow belt.
      They would be in between upper castes and dalits, it seems.

  2. “I’m sick of listening to people contradict genetics when it’s so clear.” So true
    Just search nepali actors,actresses, 80% have clear Tibetan features.

    1. Not all the actors would be Brahmin ,or Bahun as they call it, though. Nonetheless, I agree even the Brahmin Nepalis clearly show some East Asian features.

  3. Not entirely true, many Nepali Brahmins were Brahmins from north India that had to flee in the last 500 years from Mughal persecution

  4. Not only Nepali Brahmins, but also the Brahmins from the Central himalayas have varying degrees of Tibeto-Burman admixture (do correct me if I’m wrong Razib). My mom is a Kumaoni Bram, and many on her side have “Mongoloid” features. The same holds true for Garhwali brahmins too, as far as my experience goes.

    And I echo what amrik states, my Mom’s ancestors apparently fled to escape the burgeoning Muslim control over the Mewar or Marwar regions.

  5. I end up clustering right in the middle of Indian continuum, at the tail end of the Brahmins (with the most AASI Brahmins). I have more ANE than average though. But I look like I pass all over S Asia. It is quite nice. People tend to not be able to rule in or out, if I am from their community. So I get warm welcome regardless.

  6. The way Nepal map is expanding pretty sure Nepali Brahmin would claim that Indian Brahmins have Nepali ancestry than vice versa πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  7. Hi Razib, I think it would be partially from Mother side. But that is true for Chhettri/khasa Rajput as well, along with Newar Brahmins and Newar Kshatriya/Rajput. I think Hindu Rajputs and Brahmins respective regions should cluster together closely than to their community members of other state. Like UP Brahmin and UP Kshatriya/Rajput/Thakur should have some connection, same case Rajasthani Brahmin and Rajasthani Rajput, Haryanvi/WUP Rajput, Haryanvi/WUP Brahmin, and Tyagi. Similarly Bihar Rajputs, Bihar Brahmins, Bihar Bhumihars should have some relationship. Same case with Dogra Rajput, Dogra Brahmin and UKD Rajput/UKD Brahmin. I see Rajput ( yes those who are in general category) to be Brahmin plus extra type pattern region wise. In Pak region of course this would vary as they have different system atleast post conversion.

  8. Hi Razib,
    Similar pattern like Nepali Bahuns and Nepali Chhetris are observed with respect to UP Rajput/Kshatriya and UP Brahmin. Bihar Bhumihar, Bihar Brahmin, Bihar Rajput
    And Rajasthan Rajput, Rajasthani Brahmin
    HP Rajput, HP Brahmin as well, almost all. Haryanvi/WUP Brahmin, Haryanvi/WUP Rajput, Tyagi.
    It should cluster together or close by. UKD Rajput, UKD Brahmin as well. Why you are not analysing data in this direction? You will observe something like Rajput/Kshatriya in different region being Brahmin of their region+ some extra type. Of course some migration have happened but I think Kshatriya or Rajputs in northern belt should be mostly related to Brahmin of their region. In pk region of course with new religion, it would be different.

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