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BANC-107: Biological Diversity in Human Populations

BANC-107: Biological Diversity in Human Populations

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BANC-107/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BANC-107

Assignment Name: Biological Diversity in Human Populations

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Total Marks: 100


Assignment I


Answer the following in about 500 words each. 20x2= 40


a. What is the human biological variation? Briefly examine the importance of Serological markers in understanding population variation.

Ans) The study of human biological variation has been an important and fundamental concept in physical/biological anthropology. Globally, there are many biological characteristics that set people apart from one another. Anthropologists have used somatometric and somatoscopic variables since the 19th century to comprehend biological variation.


Additionally, people from different races were categorised and described using these characters on a global scale. The Dermatoglyphics were also used to describe ethnic and/or population variation; however, it was hardly ever used to classify people as races. The genetically determined ABO blood group system, other blood group polymorphisms, protein polymorphisms, red cell enzyme polymorphisms, and most recently DNA markers have provided anthropologists with tools to study human variation.


Serological Markers

An old-fashioned illustration of genetic markers is the blood grouping systems. Anthropologists have studied blood group systems to comprehend population variation and to categorise different human races. There are numerous blood grouping systems. Other blood group systems include P, ABH, Lutheran, Deigo, Duffy, Kidd, and Kell in addition to the ones mentioned above. However, population biologists and anthropologists have studied the ABO and Rh (D) systems in great detail to comprehend population variation both within and between populations. In transfusion medicine, the ABO and Rh (D) blood groups and its products are frequently used.


ABO System

Karl Landsteiner identified blood types A, B, and O in 1900; Decastello and Sturli identified blood type AB in 1902. The ABO blood group is determined by a gene variation called ABO (ABO, alpha 1-3-N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase and alpha 1-3-galactosyltransferase). Each of the three alleles at the ABO gene locus—A, B, and O—determines the appropriate blood group. While the expression of glycotransferase activity of A, B, or AB alleles convert the H antigen into A, B, or AB antigen, the O blood group is caused by a mutation of the amino acid guanine at the amino terminus of protein.


RH (D) System

In 1940, Landsteiner and Weiner discovered the RH (D) blood group system. Rh antigens are encoded by RHCE and RHD genes. This system's phenotypes include RH D+ and RHD-, Cde, Cde, CDE, CDE, Cde, and CdE. The RHD gene encodes RHD+. RHD-phenotype is caused by a mutation in the RHD gene. The RHCE gene encodes additional phenotypes. Antigen classification was proposed by Fisher and Race in 1962, Weiner and Wexler in 1963, and the International Society Blood Transfusion. The Fisher and Sanger nomenclature/classification, or CDE, makes the assumption that the genes D, C, and E, which are inherited together, encode the antigens C, D, E, c, D, and E.


MNSs System

Landsteiner and Levine made the initial discovery of the MNSs blood group system in 1927. The MNS blood group system consists of more than 40 antigens. However, M, N, S, s, and U antigens are most frequently discovered in the human population. The Glycophorin A gene encodes M and N antigens (Landsteiner and Levine, 1927), whereas the Glycophorin B gene encodes S, s, and U antigens (identified in 1947 and 1951, respectively) (Reid, 2009).


b. Briefly discuss B.S. Guha’s classification of Indian populations.

Ans) Based on anthropometric measurements, the Census of India data from 1931 served as the basis for B. S. Guha's racial classification. Guha's system of racial classification, which included anthropometric measurements on 38 characters and 63 coefficients of racial likeness, was more systematic, standardised, and elaborate (Guha, 1935). He divided the main Indian population into nine subtypes and six major racial strains:


The Negrito

Their dark, pigmy-like skin tone, spirally curved hair, small to broad head shape with bulbous forehead, flat or broad nose, and thick, everted lips are characteristics. They are thought to have arrived on the Indian subcontinent first. Tribes from the Rajmahal Hills, such as the Kadars, Irulas, and Paniyans, are examples of this type. In terms of head and hair forms, the Indian Negrito is more similar to Melanesian pygmies than Andamanese or African pygmies.


The Proto-Australoid

Short in stature, with dark brown to nearly black skin, a dolichocephalic head, a broad, flat nose that is depressed at the root, wavy or curly hair, and prominent supraorbital ridges, this type is likely the second-oldest racial stock in India. The tribal populations of the Deccan, central, southern, and western India are more likely to exhibit this type. The Oraons, Santhals, and Mundas are notable examples of this type in the Chota Nagpur region. The Chenchus, Kurumbas, Yeruvas, and Badagas are its representatives in southern India, whereas the Bhils and Kolsin are its central and western counterparts.


The Mongoloid

This type is characterised by scanty body and facial hair, oblique eyes with an upper epicanthic fold, a flat face with prominent cheekbones, and straight hair.Two subgroups make up this group:


  1. Paleo-Mongoloid Group: This type is regarded as primitive and is further subdivided into the long-headed group, which is represented by the Sema Naga and Limbus of the sub-Himalayan region. This group has the characteristics of medium stature, dark to light brown skin colour, slanting eyes, and a barely perceptible epicanthic fold, as well as the important long-headed feature of a medium to long head with prominent occipital protuberances. The hill tribes of Chittagong, such as the Chakmas and the Maghs, are examples of the other broad-headed group. They are distinguished by dark skin tones, rounded faces, and more pronounced epicanthic folds.

  2. Tibeto-Mongoloid Group: The group is represented by Tibetans from Bhutan and Sikkim and is distinguished by its tall stature, broad and massive head, light brown complexion, long and flat face, oblique eyes with an epicanthic fold, medium to long nose, and scanty body hair.


The Mediterranean

This type was again sub-grouped into three groups:


  1. Palaeo-Mediterranean: This type has a long head, high vault, bulbous forehead, projected occiput, medium stature, a broad nose, a narrow face with a pointed chin, less hair on the face and body, and a dark complexion. It is likely related to Indian Megalithic cultures. The best examples are the Telugu Brahmans, the Nairs of Cochin, and the Tamil Brahmans of Madura.

  2. Mediterranean: They have a long, medium-to-tall stature, a light complexion, an arched forehead, a narrow nose, a well-developed chin, dark hair, and eyes, brownish to dark facial hair, and thick body hair. This population is likely related to the Indus Valley civilization. The Nambudiri Brahmans of Cochin, the Brahmins of Allahabad, and the Bengali Brahmins are the best examples of this type, which is present in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bengal, and Malabar.

  3. Orientals: With the exception of the long, convex nose, this type's features are similar to those of the Mediterranean. The Punjabis, Chattris, Rajasthani Bania, and Pathans are the group's representatives.


Assignment II


Answer any two of the following questions in about 250 words each. 10x2=20


a. Briefly discuss the influence of Bio-cultural factors on Diseases with suitable examples.

Ans) Without regard to cultural or psychological acceptance, disease is an organism-pathological state. In contrast to illness, which is defined and diagnosed culturally and using traditional knowledge, disease was once thought to be a western concept. In addition to aiding in the understanding of the health condition, culture also provides resources that can be used to cope, protect, and prevent by modifying physical and social environments. Analysing individuals from various cultural backgrounds can help the native system of disease identification, nomenclature, and other related issues. Regarding health and disease, it has been noted that there are perceptions that are both universal and societally specific. Every stage of suffering's causation, experience, and expression acknowledges culture's contribution.


Despite being biological concepts, health and illness also have a social and cultural component. As a result, beliefs and disease patterns related to health and disease should be included in health studies. The term "culture bound syndromes" refers to a set of symptoms that have been found to be specific to certain cultural groups. One of the syndromes is called Koro, which is common among people in Southern China and South-East Asia. Another is called Latah syndrome, which initially manifests as an exaggerated amazing reaction to a surprising event and later develops into a lifelong condition. The inhabitants of Malaysia and Indonesia have reported experiencing this syndrome. Bebinan, the inhabitants of Bali were found to have this syndrome. Those who experience this syndrome suddenly begin to cry, flee, pass out from exhaustion, and later forget everything that happened. 4. There have been reports of the Tabacazo syndrome in Chileans. The three main symptoms of this syndrome are aggression, agitation, and despair with loss of consciousness.


b. Define Demography. Briefly discuss various mortality measures.

Ans) Demography and population studies are the two main names for the study of the human population. These two terms are frequently used synonymously, but some academics also make an effort to distinguish between the two. In general, population studies seek to understand the types of changes that are occurring in the composition and size of the human population. While population studies focus on the behavioural factors influencing people's reproductive behaviour, demography refers to the hard core analysis of numbers. The three main factors that affect a place's population are demographic determinants like migration, mortality, and fertility.

Mortality Measures

When determining a community's health and anticipating its future growth, knowledge of mortality, or the manner in which deaths occur within a community, is crucial. The number of people (population) will decrease if the death rate is higher than the birth rate, and the opposite trend will be seen if the death rate is lower than the birth rate.

The list of metrics frequently used to gauge mortality is provided below:


Crude Death Rate

The most straightforward and widely used method of measuring mortality is the crude death rate. It is described as the ratio of the total number of deaths in a given year to the total population at the midpoint of that year, multiplied by 1000.


Infant Mortality Rate

Infant deaths are those that occur before the age of one. The number of infant deaths in a community within a given calendar year divided by the number of live births in the same community during the same calendar year is known as the infant mortality rate (MOSPI, 2015).


c. Briefly comment on various sources of Demographic Data.

Ans) When it comes to gathering data and creating their own databases, demographers are more fortunate than other researchers. In general, but not always, the majority of the data we use have already been gathered for us. Some demographers do, in fact, collect their own data, particularly those who adopt anthropological viewpoints and conduct ethnographic research (Greenhalgh, 1994; Riley, 1998; Riley and McCarthy, 2003).


National Census

A national census is the entire process of gathering, compiling, and publishing demographic, economic, and social data pertaining at a specific time to every citizen of a country or delimited territory, according to the United Nations (1958). Every person living in a population, along with all demographic changes that affect that population, must be counted in a national census.


Registration System

The registration system is an ongoing collection of significant population occurrences, frequently including births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and occasionally migrations. The government collects and publishes registration data on demographic events like births and deaths on an annual or monthly basis. Many nations keep records of marriages, divorces, and abortions even though they mostly concern births and deaths.



Surveys are the third way to get demographic data. Since censuses and registration systems lack the comprehensive information needed to answer some of the most important demographic questions, demographers frequently turn to surveys. By conducting surveys to carefully selected random samples of the larger populations, demographers are better able to identify fundamental patterns of demographic behaviour (Poston and Bouvier, 2010). They frequently gather information that demographers are interested in but which is excluded from censuses and registers. This mainly holds true for the study of fertility, but it also holds true for mortality and migration.


Answer the following questions in about 50 words each. 2x5=10


a. Chalcolithic culture and its skeletal remains

Ans) Although members of this culture learned how to smelt copper, they continued to use stone tools. Agriculture was the main industry, and people lived sedentary lives. Due to the fact that people were farmers and pastoralists and lived in villages during this cultural period, it is also known as the Chalco-Neolithic. Evidence of ceremonial burial is discovered in South India, primarily in the plateau region. Although there is no proof of a separate cemetery, graves were near habitation sites.


b. mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)

Ans) It is a double-stranded, circular-shaped molecule that is passed down from the mother to the offspring. The high mutation rate, high copy number, and lack of recombination of mtDNA make it a special type of DNA that is used for research on polymorphism and evolution. The population's maternal history (migration of the female gene pool) can be determined using mtDNA. Lineage-based and population-based methodologies are both used in mtDNA studies. While the latter uses the population as a unit and population genetic methods to reflect prehistory of migrations, geographical areas, and populations, the former reveals the history of mtDNA lineages or haplogroups.

c. Genetic Drift

Ans) An allele may vanish from a population as a result of genetic drift, or it may appear more frequently in the same population. Since learning about gene flow, we now understand that new allele combinations arise in the environment as a result of gene flow. We now need to comprehend how gene flow affects recipient populations to bring about changes. This part of the study is a little bit technical. Genetic drift is the method by which allele frequency changes are introduced into breeding populations.


d. Population vs Mendelian population

Ans) A population is a collection of individuals who have interbred. A population is, more specifically, the group within which a person is most likely to find a mate from the cultural group to which he or she was born. As a result, a population can be distinguished by its level of genetic similarity and shared gene pool. As a result, individuals within populations tend to share more genetic similarities than individuals from different populations of the same species.


e. Physical Anthropology vs Biological Anthropology

Ans) In the beginning, physical anthropologists primarily focused on four narrow areas of study, including body size, human evolution, race, and cranial dimensions, to describe and categorise humans into different population groups. Biological anthropology is another name for physical anthropology. The importance of topics that are more biologically oriented has changed, and biological anthropology reflects this. Examples of such topics include genetics, evolutionary biology, nutrition, physiological adaptation, and growth and development.


Assignment III


Answer the following questions in about 250 words 10x3=30


a. Define craniometry. Briefly discuss the procedure for recording Bi-zygomatic breadth and upper facial height

Ans) Osteometry and craniometry are two broad categories that describe the measurements taken on the skeletal components. Long bone measurements, or osteometry, allow us to compare the skeletons of various human populations.


By measuring primates and fossil races, we can also put the man and other species in phylogenetic order. In addition, precise measurements of the bones can be used to identify variations in range among various human groups with regard to skeletal structures. The main goal of craniometry is to use precise measurements to examine the size and shape of the human skull.


Osteometry and craniometry are two broad categories that describe the measurements taken on the skeletal components. Long bone measurements, or osteometry, allow us to compare the skeletons of various human populations.


By measuring primates and fossil races, we can also put the man and other species in phylogenetic order. In addition, precise measurements of the bones can be used to identify variations in range among various human groups with regard to skeletal structures. The main goal of craniometry is to use precise measurements to examine the size and shape of the human skull.


Because of the known existence of geographic variation in cranial size and shape, which is challenging to detect with the unaided eye, craniometric analyses are frequently used in the estimation of ancestry. Therefore, metric analysis aids in revealing patterns in skull shape that may not be visible. The most widely used method is the use of the discriminant functions, which were first developed in the 1960s. Analyses may occasionally involve one or two measurements or a ratio of two measurements, but this is not always the case.


b. Describe the procedure for phenotyping of ABO blood group system.

Ans) The ABO system is divided into the subgroups A, B, O, and AB depending on the presence or absence of antigens. Antigens are things that make the immune system react. They are either glycoproteins, proteins, or carbohydrates. The A1 and A2 blood groups are two subtypes of the A blood group.


The idea behind ABO blood grouping is an agglutination reaction. The most common technique for identifying blood groups is to check the blood for the presence or absence of cellular antigens and the antibodies that correspond to them. Forward typing is the process of identifying an antigen in the donor's RBCs. Reverse typing, in contrast, is the process of identifying antibodies in the plasma or serum of a donor.


The four phenotypes identified by the ABO blood group system are A, B, AB, and O. The two antigens associated with the RBC membrane are type A and type B, and the two antibodies naturally found in blood plasma are anti-A and anti-B. The blood-test kit that contains anti-A, anti-B, and anti-D antisera identifies the blood type or blood group. The "Slide technique," which entails the following steps, can be used to determine an ABO blood group.

  1. First, use cotton that has been saturated with 70% ethanol to scrub the middle finger.

  2. Then use a sterilised needle or lancet to price the middle finger.

  3. Then put three drops on a spotless glass slide.

  4. After that, add antisera in the following order: anti-A in the first drop, anti-B in the second drop, and anti-D in the third drop.

  5. Using a sterilised toothpick, separately combine the blood and the antisera.

  6. After letting the slide sit for two to three minutes, record the results based on the clump formation or agglutination reaction.


c. What is Dermatoglyphics? Briefly comment on the classification of Fingerprints with suitable diagrams.

Ans) The study of epidermal ridge patterns on the skin of the fingers, palms, toes, and soles is known as dermatoglyphics. Each person's fingers, palms, and soles have unique ridge patterns and characteristics. The ridge patterns do not change as a result of environmental factors throughout life. Each person's patterns are distinctive. Due to these characteristics, these play a crucial part in racial variation, twin diagnosis, personal identification, crime detection, and various diseases and syndromes.

  1. Arch: most basic pattern, or pattern less configuration, is an arch. They are distinguished by ridges that enter the finger print pattern on one side and exit on the other side, giving them a slight rise (elevation). Two subtypes of the Arch exist:

  2. Plain Arch (A): The simplest fingerprint pattern is this one. In a plain arch, ridges enter on one side of the impression and exit on the other, sometimes with a slight wave or rise in the middle. It lacks a core and triradius.

  3. Tented Arch (T): It is the one where the majority of ridges flow from one side to the other, creating a sufficient recurve. Near the middle of the finger, toward the proximal end, the tent-shaped arch appears to have a triradius. The "tent" that gives the pattern its name is formed by transversely coursing ridges that are abruptly elevated in association with the erect radiant.

  4. Loop: It is one of the most prevalent fingerprint patterns. The type of fingerprint pattern known as a loop is one in which one or more ridges enter on either side of the impression, recurve, touch, or pass on lines drawn from the delta to the core, and then end or lend to end on the same side where such ridges entered. It only has one delta. There are two primary types of loops:

  5. Radial Loop (RL): Because the ridge flows or terminates in the direction of the forearm's radius bone, it has that name. The ridges on the right hand finger slant to the left, while those on the left hand finger slant to the right side.

  6. Ulnar Loop (UL): The ridges flow or terminate in the direction of the ulna bone of the forearm, hence the name. The ridges on the right hand finger slant to the right, while those on the left hand finger slant to the left.

  7. Whorl (W): A whorl is defined as a circular pattern with at least two deltas present in a recurve in front of each type of whorl, and one or more ridges revolving completely around the core. Of the three, it is the most complicated. Henry claims that there are two different types of whorls: true whorls and composite whorls.

  8. Plain/True Whorl: The complete circuit of a true whorl, which can be spiral, oval, circular, or any other variation of the circle, consists of two triradial and at least one ridge. A series of rings or an eclipse are common configurations. A whorl is referred to as a whorl concentric circle if this ring is concentric. Another typical configuration is a spiral that circles the core in either a clockwise or counter clockwise direction. When the ridges form a single spiral around the core, the pattern is referred to as a spiral whorl. Whorl double spirals are described as having two distinct spirals with two different cores.

  9. Composite Pattern: Composite patterns are compound patterns that combine two or more designs that each adhere to a general characteristic of one of the simpler types. There are two or more triradial. There are four widely recognised types of composites:

  10. Central Pocket Loop: A composite pattern called the central pocket loop has many ridges that resemble loops. It is essentially a smaller whorl that is located inside the pattern area and is made up primarily of loops. The central pocket loop has two deltas. It is a pattern that falls somewhere in the middle of a whorl and a loop.

  11. Lateral Pocket Loop: One loop acts as a side pocket to another loop and another pocket in a lateral pocket loop. Before they recurve, the ridge of the other loop is bent downward to create the pocket. The ridges that surround the centre and the lines that contain the core of the loops exit on the same side of the delta.

  12. Twin Loop:

  13. Accidentals: Accidentals are specific composite patterns that only occasionally occur and are wholly the result of chance within the whorl group. Accidental whorl is a pattern that combines two distinct pattern types, with the exception of plain arch, which has two or more delta formations. Examples of this pattern include whorl and loop, tented arch and loop triple, loops, and other bizarre configurations that are not unique to the standard type.

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