Understanding the Population Structure of Bengali Speaking Hindu Community of Behala, Kolkata based on their Surname Diversity Estimation

Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, 66(1-2) : (231-245), 2017

Understanding the Population Structure of Bengali Speaking Hindu Community of Behala, Kolkata based on their Surname Diversity Estimation

Moumita Das and Suvendu Maji
Department of Anthropology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal

Abstract
Background: Surnames are a unique bio-cultural trait, which provide a convenient means of investigating microevolution in human populations. In the Western and Southern European system of surname attribution through the paternal line, surnames simulate neutral alleles of a gene transmitted only through the Y chromosome (Cavalli-Sforza and Bodmer 1971). In the Indian context there has been a debate over the application of surnames for the study of inbreeding and genetic kinship. Surname structure among Indian populations varies widely. Surnames symbolize the cultural and biological dimensions of a population, and their role, function, and distribution differ widely among castes, tribes, and other ethnic groups.
Material and Methods: Demographic data of Hindu Bengali population were collected from seven paras in Behala circle for population genetic study among the urban population. For the surname analysis, the surname of the husband and the ‘maiden surname’ of the wife were collected through field survey in 2016. The surname data were collected from 153 families. Seven paras were studied for surname distribution. Homozygosity and Heterozygosity were estimated from the proportions of the surnames of both the sexes. Equivalent surname number (ESN), Entropy and redundancy were calculated as defined by the information theory. The Euclidean distance between cohorts was also estimated to understand the genetic distance between different localities.
Random Isonymy (I) was calculated from the frequency distribution of the abundance of each surname separately in males (pi) and females (qi) and each surname separately in each para.
Results and Analyses: In this study, the highest heterozygosity (0.5556) has found among husbands and the lowest has found heterozygosity (0.074792). Due to small number of sample size the overall distribution of the random isonomy and variance in husband’s and wife’s population shows inconsistency of the estimation pattern i.e. in case of Husband’s random isonymy estimation the value ranges from 0.0003 to 4.4 whereas wife’s population show the consistency of the data estimation ranges from 0.03 to 0.5. The nature of the small cross-sectional data in caste population like the present study may influence the data consistency but at the same time it creates awide scope of testing different hypotheses related to surname diversity.

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