Skin color variation in eastern Nepal.

Abstract:

:The purpose of this paper is to provide skin color data on several endogamous groups of eastern Nepal and to demonstrate genetic microdifferentiation in skin color. Skin reflectance measures were taken at the upper inner arm and forehead sites, using the British DSL Model 99 Reflectance Spectrophotometer fitted with blue, green, and red filters. Measurements on 484 males representing six endogamous groups (Jirel, Sunwar, Sherpa, Tamang, Brahman, Chetri) were utilized. After adjusting for group-specific age effects, multivariate likelihood ratio permutation tests were used to assess ethnic differences in skin reflectance means and covariance matrices. Ethnic group membership had a highly significant effect on skin color at the upper inner arm site and at the forehead site. Differential tanning responses among groups were also detected and may represent the influence of genotype-environment interaction on reflectance traits. Mahalanobis distance analysis revealed patterns of microdifferentiation that are inconsistent with oral historical accounts. Little support was found for the ethnohistorical belief that Jirels are a hybrid group descended from Sunwars and Sherpas, even though this scenario is supported by linguistic, anthropometric, and dermatoglyphic data. We suggest that while reflectometric studies of skin pigmentation may be useful in assessing the macrodifferentiation of human populations, the use of skin color in differentiation studies at the local population level needs to be carefully evaluated.

journal_name

Am J Phys Anthropol

authors

Williams-Blangero S,Blangero J

doi

10.1002/ajpa.1330850306

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1991-07-01 00:00:00

pages

281-91

issue

3

eissn

0002-9483

issn

1096-8644

journal_volume

85

pub_type

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