Anthropological Survey of India continued with all its following major research projects:
Bio-Cultural Diversity, Environment and Sustainable Development.
- Man & Environment: Biosphere Reserves Studies
- Study of DNA Polymorphism of the Contemporary Indian Populations along with Lab analytical facilities and DNA Banking.
- Community Genetics & Health: Bio-Cultural Adaptation
- People of India: Bio-Cultural Adaptation, Genetics & Family Study.
- Siwalik Excavation (Paleo Anthropology).
- Visual Anthropology.
Bio-Cultural Diversity, Environment and Sustainable Development
This project was initiated in the 12th Five year Plan to find out the Socio-economic changes of the People of India as well as implementation of developmental initiatives and its impact. It has four major objectives :
- Documenting and analysing livelihood practices
- Finding out rate/level of literacy
- Health and Nutritional Status
- Implementation of Developmental programme/schemes of the Government.
Man & Environment: Biosphere Reserves Studies
Anthropological Survey of India initiated Man in Biosphere Project in lieu of Cultural Dimension of Tourism as National research project in the Concept “Biosphere Reserve” was the outcome of Man and Biosphere programme launched by the UNESCO in 1970 where India was a signatory in the Tenth Five Year Plan. It assumes importance in the light of the fact that man has been a part of Biosphere from time immemorial and was depending on the forest eco-system to meet all his basic requirements like food, shelter etc. After the declaration of the Biosphere Reserves, which are presently 18 in number, many issues have come to the forefront due to the imposition of various regulations. The biological and cultural diversity, relocation of the population, sustainable development of the population living in and around the Biosphere Reserve are important ones. The concept of Biosphere Reserve has always stressed the need of ‘concentric zonation’ and consider man as an integral part of the Biosphere Reserve, especially because without man it would not be possible to save any Biosphere Reserve. Cultural diversity has played a major role in a way as to how the biodiversity is perceived, maintained, preserved, used and appreciated. An understanding of all the aspects of human influence on biodiversity and the underlying driving force is of crucial importance for setting priorities, directing conservation and measures of sustainable use
DNA Polymorphism of the Contemporary Indian Populations and Ancient skeletal Remains
The Anthropological Survey of India has a rich repository of series of ancient human skeletal remains representing a wide range of cultural phases from late Stone Age through prehistoric periods to early historic period. A number of scientific reports have already been published on their biometric and morphological attributes. These research results are required to be re-examined in the light of modern methods and techniques, presently available especially in DNA fingerprints. Recent advances of DNA technology, particularly the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) techniques have provided us a unique opportunity to study the ancient skeletal materials. This promises to resolve various issues relating to their origin, distribution and their place in evolutionary history. During the Tenth five Year Plan period, it was proposed to restudy the series of skeletal materials housed in the Survey with the help of newly acquired technique of D.N.A. fingerprints so as to throw further light on the migration, admixture and affinities of the ancient people. It is also proposed to extend this study to cover the contemporary populations as well to examine the nature and extent of genetic variation of ancient populations and their contribution to the present day populations. Currently, Anthropological Survey of India’s in the ongoing project ‘DNA Polymorphism of the Contemporary Indian Populations and Ancient skeletal Remains’ thus far could cover over 48 Primitive tribal populations for mtDNA phylogeny and 71 Primitive tribal populations for Y-Chromosome phylogeny including three populations from the Andaman archipelago, using whole genome sequencing combined with multiplexed SNP typing, this study investigated the deep structure of mt DNA haplogroups in Indian populations.
Community Genetics Extension Programme and Bio-Cultural Adaptation
Molecular Characterization of Haemoglobinopathies and Beta -Thalassaemia in West Bengal, conducted by the Head Office Team, Kolkata. Haemoglobinopathies and Sickle Cell Anemia in Vidharbha Region, Maharashtra
The unique social organization of our country provides a wide scope towards an understanding of the epidemiology of haemoglobinopathies and the perspectives of different communities. Anthropologists have earmarked a number of populations with exclusive cultural specificities to be the high risk groups for the haemoglobin disorders. But most of those studies have not been followed up in terms of intervention and/or post-intervention evaluation. As a consequence we have a rising incidence of severe thalassaemic children in the country. Anthropological Survey of India understands that like the other high-risk zones in the country, the eastern part of the country also harbours the dreaded genes for haemoglobinopathies in an alarming frequency. Cases of thalassaemic births are reportedly increasing in West Bengal. The need for a well-structured prevention agenda is well understood in this part. Screening at a massive level preceded by an awareness drive is justified as an initial step for a prevention strategy. Anthropological Survey of India has initiated a massive screening drive in that line of action as a part of the community genetics extension program, presently being implemented in West Bengal. With a state of the art molecular detection facility and well standardized screening methods; the Survey has till date screened more than 6000 young target group individuals from the southern part of the state. The study is presently concerned with an identification of the carriers for haemoglobinopathies in the villages of the southernmost point of the South 24-Parganas district in West Bengal. The results thus far suggest that the frequency of ß – thalassaemia carriers and HbE are really alarming in this part of the country. More so the frequencies are found to be exclusively high. Cases of other sporadic haemoglobin variants and rare ß – thalassaemia mutations were picked up for an in-depth molecular analysis.
Bio-cultural Risk Factor Assessment for Type 2 Diabetes: Consortium for the Family Studies of Genetics of Type 2 Diabetes in Indian Populations
As the World Health Organization’s Projection would have it, India would be populated by 79 million Type2 Diabetics (T2DM), by the year 2030 and if that be the case, India would top the ten countries of the world that are estimated to have the largest number of diabetics in the world. Longstanding T2DM develops micro vascular complications such as nephropathy, neuropathy and retinopathy. Fuelled by the explosion of research activities associated with the Human Genome Project, molecular genetics and statistical genetics, progress in the understanding of etiology of T2DM or obesity has been phenomenal in the developed countries. But little is known about the genetic bases of T2DM and obesity in Indian populations. The present proposal plans to conduct multidisciplinary studies to examine the genetic and environmental or cultural influences of susceptibility to T2DM and its related disease conditions such as obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (MS) in Indian populations. To be very specific, its major goal is to identify susceptibility genes for T2DM and obesity related traits, using genome wide association and linkage studies, by uniquely planning to establish a consortium for the family studies of genetics of T2DM representing three distinct caste populations, with unique bio-cultural background, namely GangadikaraVokkaliga of Mysore, Gavara of Visakhapatnam and the Mathur of Jodhpur.
Physical Growth & Development in North East India
Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) has been conducting research on physical growth and development of India’s children, for a long time. It has been re-orient in the 10th plan national project entitled “Physical Growth of Adolescents” as “Physical Growth and Development of Children in North East India: A Public Health Issue” with a massive sampling strategy has been undertaken. Under this project it has been formulated to explore all the eight states of North East India. The study will be cross-sectional in nature, in the first phase, 22 large communities representing all the eight states of North East India will be studied. Ultimately the aim is to study all the communities of North East India. More than 30 trained anthropologists have been involved in this project. In addition to anthropometrics and clinical measurements, a wide range of data on socio-cultural, demographic, reproductive history and other health aspects has been collected. Two fundamental objectives of the present research project are – To investigate the ethnic and the environmental sources of variability in physical growth and nutritional status of children from 0-18 years in North East India. To construct ethnic specific or pooled growth standards for the children of similar age ranges of both genders from this region. Output There is scanty information on growth and health status of various populations of North Eastern region of India.
Paleo Anthropology (Shivalik’s Excavation)
It is acclaimed by notable scholars, like Kenneth A. R. Kennedy, that India has enormous field resources for the palaeoanthropological investigations where the Narmada basin and the Siwaliks are in particular of great significance. The Anthropological Survey of India made an exploration at Narmada basin and collected the materials from 63 Paleolithic to Mesolithic and Palaeontological sites covered right from Handia near the western end of the Central Narmada valley unto its eastern end at Bhedaghat in Jabalpur District. This is under identification and systematic cataloguing. The lithic cultural artifact collection goes to around 2000 specimens besides a number of important faunal fossil remains reflecting the prehistoric ecology and environment of the early man. In addition, a little known and isolated prehistoric rock art site, the Boro Rani Cave, located deep in the thick forests of the Satpura Range, having rock paintings holds a great promise for a better insight in to the area, but the threat is from dangerous bears and hyenas. Currently, the survey is conducting an exploratory study in Shivalik hills of Himachal Pradesh to collect fossils and stone artifacts.