Anup K Kapoor, Jaspreet Kaur
Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.
Background: Natural selection is a continuous process that operates in populations to weed out deleterious genes and preserve the genes that increase the chances of survival, procreation, and multiplication. The fitness of a population group is measured in terms of its differential fertility and mortality. These are the most fundamental events through which the natural selection is operative. Selection intensity, which is a measure of the fitness of a population, is expressed in terms of differential fertility, and differential mortality, assuming that the heritability of fitness is complete and that the birth and death rates are all selective. These indices are influenced by a number of socio-cultural conditions, religious, ethnic, and environmental factors which have been studied by different researchers in different parts of the world, including India. Objective: In this paper, an attempt was made to study the index of total selection, index of selection due to mortality, and index of selection due to fertility among the Andaman Indians, an island population of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and we highlight the variability of selection intensity in different ecological zones of India, namely the island, coastal, plains and plateau, Himalayan region, and the desert ecologies. Materials and Methods: Data were collected on pre-designed questionnaire, from women aged 40 + years, on various demographic parameters. Results: The value of the Index of Total Selection was found to be 1.263, the component due to fertility was 1.020, and that of mortality was found to be 0.120
Keywords: Ecological zones, natural selection, population, tribal.