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Origins of the Austro-Asiatic Populations

  1. B Mohan Reddy,
  2. Vikrant Kumar

Published Online: 15 JUL 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020816



How to Cite

Mohan Reddy, B. and Kumar, V. 2008. Origins of the Austro-Asiatic Populations. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Indian Statistical Institute, Hyderabad, India

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2008


The Austro-Asiatic linguistic family, which is considered to be the oldest of all the families in South Asia, has substantial presence in Southeast Asia. The origin and expansion of the Austro-Asiatic populations have been a contentious issue and so far there has been no formidable archaeological or linguistic evidence in favour of any of the hypotheses suggested. In recent years there has been a couple of genetic studies assessing the genetic unity, history and migration of Austro-Asiatic groups. In this article we examine different hypotheses, based on both the genetic and nongenetic evidences. We infer a common paternal origin of Austro-Asiatics and the migration of paternal ancestors of Austro-Asiatic populations from East to South Asia, followed by the origin of Austro-Asiatic languages which subsequently spread to Southeast Asia, with primarily male-mediated migrations.


  • Austro-Asiatics;
  • migration;
  • origin;
  • phylogeography;
  • genetics