The Indian Subcontinent and Human Genetics: An Introduction

  • Dhavendra Kumar


The Indian subcontinent is a vast region inhabited by heterogeneous populations. Geographically it is often referred to as ‘South-West Asia’. The people from this region are often collectively referred to as ‘South Asians’. However, inappropriate use of the term ‘Asian’ can be misleading and damaging (Bhopal et al. 1991). For example ‘South Asians’ may be confused with ‘South-East Asians’, who are entirely different. The term Asian Indian is preferably used in North America in the sociopolitical context to refer to people originating from the Indian subcontinent (Fisher, 1996). It helps to differentiate them from other populations with ‘Indian’ suffix, for example ‘American Indian, Brazilian Indian’ etc. The Indian subcontinent is one of the largest geo-political regions of the Asian continent. The geographic and political boundaries include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and other small islands of the Indian Ocean. There is marked cultural and ethnic diversity with considerable overlap.


Down Syndrome Indian Subcontinent Genetic Service Consanguineous Marriage Beta Thalassaemia 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

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  • Dhavendra Kumar

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