Genetics behind Hindu Gotra System

Genetics behind Hindu Gotra System

In Hindu society, the term gotra means clan. It broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor.

However, all families having same gotra need not be cousins.

They can be descendants of sons or disciples or even adopted sons of the Rishi(Seer), who is the root and whose name is used as Gotra.

For example if a person says that he belongs to the Kutsa Gotra then it means that he traces back his male ancestry to the ancient Rishi (Saint or Seer) Kutsa.

Gotra means cowshed (Go=Cow, tra=shed) in Sanskrit. Pāṇini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram (IV. 1. 162), which means “the word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son’s son.

This system was started among Brahmins, with a purpose to classify and identify the families in the community.

Hindu Brahmins identify their male lineage by considering themselves to be the descendants of the 8 great Rishis i.e Saptarishis (The Seven Sacred Saints) + Bharadwaja Rishi. So the list of root Brahmin Gotras is as follows :

  • Angirasa
  • Atri
  • Gautam
  • Kashyapa
  • Bhrigu
  • Vasistha
  • Kutsa
  • Bharadwaja

The offspring (apatya) of these eight are gotras and others than these are called ‘ gotrâvayava ‘.

These eight sages are called gotrakarins from whom all the 49 gotras (especially of the Brahmins) have evolved. For instance, from Atri sprang the Atreya and Gavisthiras gotras.

In almost all Hindu families, marriage within the same gotra is prohibited, since people with same gotra are considered to be siblings.

But the hidden reason behind this practice is the ‘Y Chromosome‘ which is expected to be common among all male in same gotra. So, the woman too carries similar X Chromosome and if married, their offspring may be born with birth defects.

Few families even maintain their Pravara which is a list of all seers through which their Gotra was derived.

It connects to the root Seer.

Gotra is always passed on from father to children among most Hindus, just like lastname(surname) is passed on worldwide. However, among Malayalis and Tulu’s its passed on from mother to children.

Additional rule in the Gotra system is that, even if the Bride and Bridegroom belong to different Gotras, they still cannot get married even if just one of their Gotra Pravara matches.

Now, why only male carries fixed lastname and gotra and why female can change her lastname, gotra after marriage ?

Genes & Chromosomes among Humans

Humans have 23 pairs of Chromosomes and in each pair one Chromosome comes from the father and the other comes from the mother. So in all we have 46 Chromosomes in every cell, of which 23 come from the mother and 23 from the father.

Of these 23 pairs, there is one pair called the Sex Chromosomes which decide the gender of the person. During conception, if the resultant cell has XX sex chromosomes then the child will be a girl and if it is XY then the child will be a boy. X chromosome decides the female attributes of a person and Y Chromosome decides the male attributes of a person.

When the initial embryonic cell has XY chromosome, the female attributes get suppressed by the genes in the Y Chromosome and the embryo develops into a male child. Since only men have Y Chromosomes, son always gets his Y Chromosome from his father and the X Chromosome from his mother. On the other hand daughters always get their X Chromosomes, one each from both father and mother.

So the Y Chromosome is always preserved throughout a male lineage (Father – Son – Grandson etc) because a Son always gets it from his father, while the X Chromosome is not preserved in the female lineage (Mother, Daughter, Grand Daughter etc) because it comes from both father and mother.

A mother will pass either her mother’s X Chromosome to her Children or her father’s X Chromosome to her children or a combination of both because of both her X Chromosomes getting mixed (called as Crossover). On the other hand, a Son always gets his father’s Y Chromosome and that too almost intact without any changes because there is no corresponding another Y chromosome in his cells to do any mixing as his combination is XY, while that of females is XX which hence allows for mixing as both are X Chromosomes.

Women never get this Y Chromosome in their body. And hence Y Chromosome plays a crucial role in modern genetics in identifying the Genealogy ie male ancestry of a person. And the Gotra system was designed to track down the root Y Chromosome of a person quite easily. If a person belongs to Angirasa Gotra then it means that his Y Chromosome came all the way down over thousands of years of timespan from the Rishi Angirasa!

And if a person belongs to a Gotra (say Bharadwaja) with Pravaras (Angirasa, Bhaarhaspatya, Bharadwaja), then it means that the person’s Y Chromosome came all the way down from Angirasa to Bhaarhaspatya to Bharadwaja to the person.

This also makes it clear why females are said to belong to the Gotra of their husbands after marriage. That is because women do not carry Y Chromosome, and their Sons will carry the Y Chromosome of the Father and hence the Gotra of a woman is said to be that of her husband after marriage.

Shrinking size of Y Chromosome

Y is the only Chromosome which does not have a similar pair in the human body. The pair of the Y Chromosome in humans is X Chromosome which is significantly different from Y Chromosome. Even the size of the Y Chromosome is just about one third the size of the X Chromosome. In other words throughout evolution the size of the Y Chromosome has been decreasing and it has lost most of its genes and has been reduced to its current size. Scientists are debating whether Y Chromosome will be able to survive for more than a few million years into the future or whether it will gradually vanish, and if it does so whether it will cause males to become extinct! Obviously because Y Chromosome is the one which makes a person male or a man.

Y Chromosome has to depend on itself to repair any of its injuries and for that it has created duplicate copies of its genes within itself. However this does not stop DNA damages in Y Chromosome which escape its local repair process from being propagated into the offspring males. This causes Y Chromosomes to accumulate more and more defects over a prolonged period of evolution and scientists believe that this is what is causing the Y Chromosome to keep losing its weight continuously.

Y Chromosome which is crucial for the creation and evolution of males has a fundamental weakness which is denying it participation in the normal process of evolution via Chromosomal mix and match to create better versions in every successive generation, and this weakness MAY lead to the extinction of Y Chromosome altogether over the next few million years, and if that happens scientists are not sure whether that would cause males to become extinct or not. And that is because Scientists are not sure whether any other Chromosome in the 23 pairs will be able to take over the role of the Y Chromosome or not.

On the other hand, it is not necessary that humanity will not be able to survive if males become extinct. Note that females do not need the Y Chromosome, and since all females have X Chromosomes, it would be still possible to create a mechanism where X Chromosomes from different females are used to create offspring, say like injecting the nuclei from the egg of one female into the egg of another female to fertilize it and that would grow into a girl child. So yes, that would be a humanity where only females exist.

Gotra System helps to protect the Y Chromosome from becoming extinct

Even modern scientists have concluded that children born to parents having blood relation (like cousins) can have birth defects.

For example, there is a recessive dangerous gene in one person. What this means is that say a person is carrying a dangerous abnormality causing gene in one of his chromosome, but whose effect has been hidden in that person (or is not being expressed) because the corresponding gene in the pairing Chromosome is stronger and hence is preventing this abnormality causing gene from activating.

Now there are fair chances that his offsprings will be carriers of these genes throughout successive generations. As long as they keep marrying outside his genetic imprint, there is a fair chance that the defective gene will remain inactive since others outside this person’s lineage most probably do not have that defective gene. Now if after 5-10 generations down the line say one of his descendants marries some other descendant who may be really far away cousins. But then there is a possibility that both of them are still carrying the defective gene, and in that case their children will definitely have the defective gene express itself and cause the genetic abnormality in them as both the Chromosomes in the pair have the defective genes. Hence, the marriages between cousins always have a chance of causing an otherwise recessive, defective genes to express themselves resulting in children with genetic abnormalities.

So, Ancient Vedic Rishis created the Gotra system where they barred marriage between a boy and a girl belonging to the same Gotra no matter how deep the lineage tree was, in a bid to prevent inbreeding and completely eliminate all recessive defective genes from the human DNA.

~ BooksFact


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137 Responses to "Genetics behind Hindu Gotra System"

  1. Mahesh Nayak  January 29, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Very Educative.Thank You.

    • ashwini  July 15, 2015 at 8:14 am

      . x and x is not x. it is xx. similarly x and y is not y.it is xy.
      so, x does pass on to the lineage as well, and equally!

      • Supraja  May 24, 2016 at 7:05 am

        Women have xx chromosomes which are from both parents. The male has xy- x from mother and y from father. Thr x from mother maybe either of the chromosomes so its not exact which one. Its a comoletely random process. Thats what makes it difficult to pass on the lineage. Hebce the y chromosome being the pointer.

  2. ved  January 29, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Being a tulu ‘ite, The mention about tulu’s carrying gotra from their mothers side is what I would like to differ.

    • Srinivasa Murthy N S  April 15, 2015 at 2:48 am

      No reason is attributed for gotras to pass down on maternal lineage, in this article and hence one has to call this article not fully complete.

  3. hari  January 29, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    very nice useful one

    • R PARTHASARATHI  January 30, 2015 at 1:13 am

      Very useful forward. Thanks & Regards

  4. MP Udayanarayana  January 30, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Wonerful -Gothra -xx & xy Chromosomes
    Thank U all

    • Rupchand  February 2, 2015 at 2:46 am

      1.It will be a gigantic task to link entire humanity to the ‘basic’ rishis. Should be a good platform for genetics & bio research.
      2. Marriage between even maternal cousins has often ended progenies with some defect, apparent or non – explicit. May become proved if deeply analysed. Between Paternal cousins appears very ‘unnatural’
      3.Impact of Astrology on Matching marriage partners needs lot more research, duly reckoning the impact of planets.
      4. The ‘basic’ info of this post deserves high commendation & ‘wake’ many people up.
      5. High tech professional bodies like IEEE Engineering & Biology Society must take up this for research, as lot has been done already on x-y chromosomes & DNA. Perhaps we can sustain y !

  5. RAGHURAMAN  January 30, 2015 at 5:34 am

    After a long period the Gothra ways are cleared in my mind. Thank you.

  6. R Agasthi  January 30, 2015 at 6:06 am

    i think world should know how deep is the knowledge of Hindu rishis goes. Sadly most of it is lost due to few unscrupulous people who bar education of masses for their own gain. Now we get to know about all this from foreigners. Any glad to know this info.

  7. Prasanna  January 30, 2015 at 6:06 am

    Very very informative. I just knew ‘this’ from my ancestors and believed but did not had any idea about proper scientific reason. Now my belief just became more stronger after reading this.

  8. Linga  January 30, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Very well explained. One of my biology lecturer had long back explained me the concept of shrinking size of Y chromosome.

  9. Kevin  January 30, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Excellent. I want to know more about our Sanskriti. Please make a video of this. Thank you for sharing.

  10. suman  January 30, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Thank you for detail insight and bringing value to our heritage and culture.

  11. Rbs  January 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    In Muslim Community, Paternal uncle can marry his brothers daughter. Same way, in deep south, Hindus, Maternal uncle marry his sisters daughter. But, there were birth defects does not arise. ( Even though I agree the concept stated in this article in theory)

    • Dr.Jagath lal G  February 1, 2015 at 2:20 am

      Contrary to what you said, the incidence of genetic diseases is significantly more in consanguinous parentage in South India,esp. Neurological defects.

    • Ganesh  February 1, 2015 at 3:59 am

      The close relation marriage sometimes causes ‘tinnitus’ particularly in girls in their teen ages in Tamilnadu. This info was given me by a senior ENT Late Mr Kameswaran.

    • RAJ  February 1, 2015 at 5:45 am

      Actually if his sister is married to a person with different Gothra then there will not be any problem if he marries his sister’s daughter. But that doesn’t arise nowadays bcoz of age difference between bride and groom

    • DA  February 3, 2015 at 10:03 am

      While true that lack of consanguinity will reduce chances of the most debilitating of conditions (sickle cell anaemia, Haemophilia) which typically have very high mortality, it does little to exclude disease conditions from mitochondrial DNA. However, the latter generally relate to neural function, and acuity of senses. Perhaps less important to Brahmins, who, as a community, weren’t reliant on hunting-gathering or warfare for survival.

    • MCM  February 6, 2016 at 3:45 am

      Birth defects were many in maternal uncle marry his sister daughter… In SouthIndia this is prevalent and many visually impaired and orthopaedically handicapped born out of this and more in South than in any other place. May be due to this scientific but people continued as the property and other considerations are the prime points in the marriage in those days…

  12. SRIKANTA M S  January 30, 2015 at 3:59 pm


  13. Kapil gupta  January 30, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Nice compilation of all information.It will be good if you can provide the link for scientific articles for all those facts, so that it will be easy to tract whether those facts are true or not.

  14. Dileep  January 30, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Great information.

  15. KSK Sharma  January 30, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Really a good article. A through insight about the matter.

  16. raveendra nath kaushik  January 30, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks for the unique information

  17. shailesh bajpai  January 31, 2015 at 12:44 am

    thanks for clearing the concept of gotra system scientifically , please also tell about all gotras and their significance.

  18. shrisha  January 31, 2015 at 6:53 am

    fabulous report is very true on all of its points

  19. Abhay  January 31, 2015 at 9:00 am

    I have studied Biotechnology and done research on Human genetics (More specifically MtDNA based inheritance – Inheritance from Mothers in simple terms). The explanation here is made so simple for people who do not understand Genetics. I was not aware of the link with the Gotra system and it’s great info. Thank you!

    • satish  June 30, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Dera Abhay as you said you hade research on Human genetics.

      Please just tell me there no chance to met Y-Y, like as said above each human body have x and Y both. Y belongs to his father and X belongs to his mother.

      As said above article when XX get mixed and borned baby is Girl, when XY or YX mixed the born one will be Boy.

      So is there no possibility to get Y chromosome from father and also Y chromosome from mothers father so will mix YY, never this happens? why?

      I am an engineer explain in easy language if possible.


      • Dr. JYOTI Sharma  November 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm

        There is no y chromosome in females… only XX . One x recieved from mother and other from father.

      • chetan  January 26, 2016 at 5:28 am


        Y chromosome is passed father to son. Female chromosomes are XX so there is no Y to pass. There really is no way to be YY naturally. Maybe a mad scientist could figure it out. without the X we could not be alive.

      • anon  February 6, 2016 at 5:02 pm

        Females have two X chromosomes (XX). Therefore, when they give on e of their chromosomes to their child, it has to be a X chromosome. They do not have a Y chromosome to give. Both their son and daughter will receive a X chromosome from the mother.
        Males have one X and one Y chromosome (XY). If their sperm carries an X chromosome, the fertilized child will be a daughter because the child has to get a X form mother and got another X from father, so it became XX – female. If the father’s sperm carried a Y chromosome, then the fertilized child will be a son because the child has to get a X from mother and got a Y from father, so it became XY-male.
        Thus, if there’s no genetic problems during development, there’s no possibility for a YY combo. Of course, there are many disorders due to chromosome abnormalities that the cell hadn’t recognized in time, but YY would be especially unlikely.

  20. rama chandra raju  January 31, 2015 at 9:12 am

    good information .

  21. Vasudevan  January 31, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Thanks for explaining the science behind Gotra

  22. R SRINATH  January 31, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Most useful information. Present generation are neglecting this which may lead unrepairable damage

  23. satyabrata maiti  January 31, 2015 at 11:36 am

    It is fact that Gotra system was introduced to avoid in breeding. There are some comments that inbreeding is going on in Muslim and in some sect in South India and they do not suffer which is not true. Inbreeding depression is well known fact now in genetics and these community are suffer ring from inbreeding depression too. In Royal family of England was also victim of inbreeding. Lot of examples are available in medicine. Vedic gotra system was the understanding of this fact.

    • Anand YNI  March 31, 2015 at 5:20 am

      Taamasic qualities in sucessive generations, for eg, terrorism are the fall out of inbreeding.

  24. Ravi  January 31, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Thanks for the good information.. really great article 🙂

  25. Govardhan Rao CHAPA  January 31, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I really admire for bringing the gotra system prevail in Hinduism and how it relates with genetics equation. Very interesting subject, I hope everyone should know the fundamental theory of relativity.

  26. Subir Mitra  January 31, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Scientific analysis of the ‘gotra system’ among Hindus was informative.. The argument that ‘Y’ chromosome is the original ‘loner-marker’ of an individual and has to be protected is strong. However, gotra segregation may not be the answer to justify the gradual diminishing size of the ‘Y’. The prayer ‘putram dehi’ seems to take a new meaning.

  27. lavang  January 31, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Very informative article. But..what if we don’t know our gotra….

    • Anand YNI  March 31, 2015 at 5:22 am

      Ignorance is Bliss!!

  28. narayan  January 31, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    How does it explain about muslim culture where kids from brothers get married and no problem with kids born.

    • Krishna  February 3, 2015 at 12:02 am

      It is scientifically proven that inbreeding can cause birth defects. There are numerous cases in Muslims and others who have married their close cousins and had progenies with defects. Not everyone marries their close cousins; likewise, it is not a rule that every such marriage has to result in birth defects in the progeny, since it is possible that the progeny carried the healthy gene. It is simply to avoid such a situation.

  29. chinmay  January 31, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    very informative, thank you for such a great peace of information.

  30. Amar  February 1, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Very useful and meaning full information

  31. Ramalakshmanan S  February 1, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Very informative and educative article. Shrinking Y chromosomes is an alarming information.
    Thanks for the info on gotta system.

  32. shyam gilda  February 1, 2015 at 7:18 am

    many many thanks, sanskriti you have explained the reason why sanatan dharam followers follow gotra system in very simple langauage

  33. mithun  February 1, 2015 at 7:39 am

    not only brahmin even a kshatiya of certain class also do hve gotra

  34. TAMIL JOSHIER COUPLE RENGAN USHA  February 1, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Very Good MeaningMeaningful and proud. Thank you..all..

  35. MJ  February 1, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Excellent article….. very informative…. succinctly written….. Thanks!

  36. Sangeeta  February 1, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you

  37. vittal  February 1, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Where does bhargava gotra fit in?

  38. s chandrasekaran  February 1, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Really great & useful info.

  39. anand  February 1, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Do others apart from brahmins and shatriyas also has gothra? If not what happens to their breeding? With all due respect I also get a feeling with shrinking of y chromsone the increase of transgender will become high

  40. Ganapathy C Iyer  February 2, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Very informative, explains the practices of hindu traditions on Gothra System and answers the people who question thiir relevance. HINDU PRACTICES ARE BASED ON SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, which needs to be explained explicitly to presrrve the practices and the Hindu way of life.

  41. prasoon sharma  February 2, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Very very interesting & useful knowledge for all human being… Thanks a lot

  42. venugopal naredla  February 2, 2015 at 8:32 am

    vedic science is has its own terminology , who is learning this vedic terms they making miracle in the world ,but some Indian, who were hates Hindu gods and Hinduism they don;t know this science. who believed in vedas they becoming good scientists . see the USA how they are developed by VEDIC knowledge.

  43. sivanandam  February 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    This article is very interesting and thought provoking indeed..
    The system and symbolism of Arthanareeswar is getting
    enlightened.Hats off to our ancient system.

  44. Ajith  February 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Very informative and educational. Thanks a million for the article

  45. sneha  February 3, 2015 at 3:14 am

    awesome information….

  46. Naresh  February 3, 2015 at 9:16 am

    One thing is clear. Even without the aid of modern tools like microscopes etc, our Rishis made discovery about the male lineage and founded the Gotra system.

    But then it was also known to others saints in other countries. It is evident from the fact that the family name is carried from father to son in most other societies as well.

  47. Amit  February 3, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Nice Article.

  48. Samir  February 3, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Awesome information. Its good to see how Ancient Hindu knowledge is being properly circulated and described.

  49. Nagarjuna  February 4, 2015 at 4:32 am

    Thank you, Every one should aware of this information.

  50. k surya narayana  February 4, 2015 at 7:31 am

    143annapillai street very interesting and educative for the younger generation

  51. Nithin  February 4, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks for the information, now I know that our ancestors have made the shastras on scientific grounds and its not superstition…
    Thanks a lot and hope to see more of the science behind our shastras

  52. amit  February 5, 2015 at 10:54 am

    In societies other than Hindu, there is no such system to track gotras. So, one would expect a lot more birth defects in these societies than the Hindu society. However, that hasn’t been the case based on my knowledge.

    What could be the reason for that?

    • Sanskriti  February 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Indians are not the only ones, many people of the old world had caste systems including the Jewish. Since some are lost and others are a closed knit community that doesn’t talk about their culture and practices to the outside world, it is difficult to garner information about them unless we dig deeper.

      A Danish psychologist, Nicolai Sennels, author of the book Among Criminal Muslims and articles on the psychology of Islam and Muslims warns that 1,400 years of inbreeding—marrying first cousins—may be wreaking havoc on Muslim intelligence, health and sanity.

  53. g srikrishna  February 5, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Very informative and in fact the present and younger generations must aware of the science behind gotra concept.

  54. Amit  February 5, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks. I was alluding more to the Western societies. Having been an observer of these for past 10+ years, I haven’t seen any such system in them. Girls and boys can marry whoever they want. In such a case, it is likely that the couple may belong to the same gotras/geneology and is prone to have kids with birth defects. But, the % of these is about the same as that in India where Gotra system is still followed to a large extent.

    Any thoughts?

  55. raghavarao  February 9, 2015 at 2:13 am

    thanks a lot i liked this information. even though we know generally honestly i am not aware of the medical portion of it.

  56. pardhasaradhy Velury  February 9, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Wonderful article . Majority of our Hindu scriptures had strong scientific basis . Since , people feared and had belief in Religion than Science , Most of the wisdom was passed on through Religious preachings.
    I fully conform to what is said about inbreeding or marrying cousins resulting in defects among children. There are more than 3 cases in our family where cousins got married and children were born with congenital defects.

  57. Vivek  February 9, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I believe in this article. One of my friend though is challenging if any reputed researcher or a phd scholar could support what is said. If you konw of any such reference, please share.

  58. Dheeraj  February 13, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks for the very educative artice… its really fantastic to know.

  59. Javaid  February 18, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Is there any evidence that the gotra system was started among Brahmins? Tribes of India, which have no interaction with Brahmins, have had a system of gotras – gots(septs) from ancient times, with different names. Brahmins may have documented the system, which was their responsibility, as scholars and interpreters of custom.

    Pravars should be explained better. They are the eight original rishis, whose progeny were also rishis who gave their names to other gotras. So the latter gotras are descended from one of the eight founding father rishis and traditionally, those with different gotras but same pravar also could not marry. Many Brahmins are still particular about this.

  60. Venkata Kutumbarao Gandikota  February 22, 2015 at 9:45 am

    This article confirms how much deeper are the Hindu roots besides medically scientific.An excellent matter to be read by one and all. This should be highlighted to the universe so that certain people stop belittling the Arsha/Hindu sanskruthi
    One of my friend(vittala) in the above letters asked about Bhargava gotra….. I think Bhrigu and Bhargava are one and the same Rishi. If I am wrong ,kindly correct me with valuable information. ………………… Hari Sarvothama…

    • daideepya  April 12, 2015 at 5:34 pm


  61. dwarakanath  February 24, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Even before the modern sciences discovery of Genes, Blood Group, Rh factors, Indians, The Hindus had the knowledge and basis for these issues through Horoscope etc. Now these things are proven facts. Kudoos to our ancestors and also for their knowledge.

  62. RR Srinivasan  February 27, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Thank you for a very informative piece.

    There is a view – mentioned in the Puranas – that sa-gothra (same gothra) is acceptable for marriage as long as seven generations of the boy and five generations of the girl were from different genealogical trees!

  63. Kamlesh Kapur  March 2, 2015 at 3:35 am

    Extremely scientific. There has been a similar but vague understanding among some parts of the world that marriages between cousins may cause birth defects. Henry Talouse Lartre- the famous painter had spurts in growth and it is said that the doctor attributed to the parents being first cousins. I am not sure if the story is true or not. Will you please let us know the name of the author of this wonderful article.

  64. happy RangiSatyanarayanaa  March 9, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    An informative ,curious, excellent n thought provoking …..ThanksArjun!

  65. Sujoy Das  March 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Excellent, thank u for ur information

  66. A.L.Tulasi  March 11, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Thanks for sending this information. I came to know few new facts on ‘Human Genetics’.

  67. nagaraj  March 11, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    very iformastive and logically given. thanks for giving these

  68. s.Baskaranarayanan.  March 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Really a wonderful article. What reply our Dravidian Zealots have for this?

  69. Sreenivas  March 23, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I was wondering how does all this relate when one of the off springs is ADOPTED and not of natural birth to a couple?

  70. Rupesh  March 31, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    My question may seem off topic but, can you tell me where do black skinned people, shudras, Mongolians, vaishyas descend from…..
    I could find details about ancestors of modern Brahmins, Kshatriyas but tried to search a lot above races’ ancestors, and couldnt find it anywhere………… Brahma Puran also dint help me…….

  71. Samiran Das  April 1, 2015 at 8:53 am

    it is amazing to know all about Gotra and its source. In our present mechanical life style we do not care about our religion and its lessons. I doubt how many of us have gone through ‘Geeta” on which Hindu Sastra is based. I am lucky to learn so many things and will love to learn more.

  72. Surya  April 2, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Excellent information

  73. Hari  April 15, 2015 at 5:12 am

    Present generation is marrying in different relationship as also religions. I am sure the Y chromosome may play an important role in the future generics. But as mentioned the X chromosome may carry evolution. The gotra clan is heard in Gaya and Varanasi.

  74. Thiagarajan Ramachandran  April 30, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Excellent article. Amazing and thought provoking

  75. pv. kameshwar rao aathreya  May 12, 2015 at 5:57 am

    Very interesting and gain knowledge of gothras and geneology. Thanks

  76. kumar  May 13, 2015 at 4:53 am

    I wonder why caste system was prominent which is mainly based on endogamy…what is the scientific explanation for having a caste system if we already had gothras to take care of inbreeding problem.Won’t caste system cause concept of close relation marriages

  77. raja deekshithar  May 16, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks thanks thanks. ….

  78. kirtiprasad  May 19, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Amazing Its Great How much science Indian culture Has & What we do is turn west for Research, if we could even try to explore our culture will be aided with lots & lots of Information

  79. Anu  May 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    This is fascinating, but then, there is a type of inheritance that is strictly maternal as well- The mitochondrial DNA inheritance. What about that? Shouldn.t it be preserved as well?

  80. priyanka  July 2, 2015 at 9:31 am

    i have one question

    Here is the situation.

    Family 1 has a boy(XY – Preserving the gotra in the Y)
    Family 2 has a girl(XX – she has not Y to preserve)

    Both Family 1 and 2 are from same gotra

    If the Boy and Girl get married then what is the scientific explaination of the the inbreeding complexities.

    The Girl even if comes from the same gotra has boy does not have any Y chromosome of the gotra.

    So if the pair gives birth to a girl child then the girl child will not carry the Y at all
    If the pair gives birth to a boy child then the boy child will have the Y and the lineage of the gotra.

    Why do inbreeding gives rise to complexities if the mother / female / girls of the family do not contibute to the lieanage at all ?

  81. priyanka  July 2, 2015 at 9:47 am

    I have one more question

    How did the gotra come into picture for non-brahmins ?
    the concept explained here is only for the brahmins , how the other castes and subcastes got the same gotras as brahmins.

    At a time when gotra were in picture, a brahmin’s son was a brahmin only. And same was true for other castes and sub-castes

    Now but in India , in Hindus we see everyone has a gotra

    and i have heard same gotra in Brahmins and non-Brahmins are same. for example my Brahmin friend and My Kshyatriya friend have same gotra KASHYAPA , how is that possible ?

  82. maria  July 11, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Es un artículo muy interesante, y mucho más por pertenecer este conocimiento ancestral de los Rishis Indús!!

  83. Chandra  July 15, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Excellent article..I want to know how the gothra works in case of ADOPTION., as there is no natural lineage?..will you pl explain ?

  84. P.R Vasudeva Murthy  July 18, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    People who doesn’t believe in our ancient knowledge and culture must read this article.

  85. Brahma B. Panda  August 9, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Certainly an interesting article which, however, needs to be reviewed in the perspective of current research. Recent discovery suggest that males can continue to exist even without the Y chromosome.

  86. Sakethan.T.S.  August 26, 2015 at 12:09 am

    I have had understanding on the subject.But the way it is presented is so impressive and the lay man can get convinced.Male is a diminishing species and at least the male ego has to diminish which is not the case.A thought provoking article and thanks for the author.

  87. Sakethan.T.S.  August 26, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Thought provoking article.Author needs to be congratulated.It is noteworthy that Male species are diminishing and I suppose that of male ego.

  88. Praveen G  September 21, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Factual mistakes:
    Not all Malayalees and Tulus follow a matrilineal system.
    The Brahmins of both Kerala and Mangalore follow a patriarchal system: Ex: Namboodiris
    It is only the Nairs (Malayalee) and Bunts (Tulus) who follow the matriarchal system.

  89. Indu nadig  September 24, 2015 at 11:05 am

    You have mentioned about only 7 rishis’ names. In this Smartha Brahmins clan there are so many sub-sects and so many other rishis’ names and accordingly gotras too.where will the others (whose gotta are different from the mentioned 7 rishis ) fit in ,for ex. Srivatsa , Vishwamitra ,Jamadagni –to name a few ? Can you please explain ? On the whole (otherwise ) this article is really very good and very informative. Thank you very much. Namaskara.

  90. Shyam  September 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Gotra is not unique to us, every tribe in the world has this system. Many tribes have , Totems and rules about marriage within the totem symbols which are taboos. Extensive research is done about it by Sigmeund Freud, read the book, ” Totem and taboo” if you are interested.

  91. A. Rama Chari  October 13, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Excellent and informative article. It is necessary that this kind of information should help dispel prejudices among lay people. Our ancient learned people had really acquired so much knowledge for the betterment, survival and progress our civilization which we are not at all aware of. More such articles should be circulated for the common people for them to understand things. Thanks a lot for all this.

  92. B. Sridhar  October 21, 2015 at 6:57 am

    The article is very informative and nice. I am thoroughly against someone marrying his own sister ‘s daughter, which is prevalent in South India. This mocks the relationship of the Grand mother becoming the mother in law for the bride and the sister becoming the mother in law for the groom.

  93. Satyyajeet Thatte  December 6, 2015 at 5:20 am

    What about Shandilya Gotra

  94. Anonymous  January 7, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    If everyone is so concerned about marrying within gothras which they think is inbreeding, marrying outside your said’ gothra’ and still within brahmins can also very well be inbreeding.

    The Y chromosome may be an undiluted indicator of lineage but that is only 50 %. What about the X? in XY?? Are you suggesting that the X chromosome is useless there and has no function. It also carries genes of heredity. Genes that determine traits. It is ridiculous to ignore the effect of X just because one does not know which of the maternal Xs was passed on.

    All I can say is that the gothra system is interesting and to some extent scientific( which is commendable given how ancient it is). But please don’t claim that it encompasses all the principles of modern science.

  95. Anonymous  February 1, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Yes..This is very good system. I highly appreciate our ancestors wisdom. But always had this doubt….

    In every Gotra chain there might be this problem …….
    what happens which a male child is adopted ?
    Gotra changes to that of adopted father ( though the gene is different )
    Gotra remains the same as before (in that case adoption remains incomplete as he does not belong to the family because of diff gotra ). Even a girl changes her Gotra to that of her husband so that she belongs to that gotra.

    So what happens ???? chain breaks or chain continues for that family ?

  96. Pankaj Pandey  February 4, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Grear information.it has made my initial research on the Vedic Gotra System even more sound…gr8 work done by d author….hats off to u.

  97. Chris Vajra  February 7, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Seems to be a scientifically valid theory. But, like very often, its original purpose has been distorted and diverted, and this tradition, among several others, has been used to create chauvinist and misogynist society!!

  98. P.Kanniyappan  February 8, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Marrying not only within the same gothras are prohibited; but also some of the other gothras, which are having cousin ( brother-sister) relations hip. The other gothras, which has the other cousin (brother-in law-sister in law) relationship is preferred for marriages. While the maternal uncle’s and paternal aunt’s daughter is permissible for marriage to a boy, maternal aunty’s (Chachi’s) and paternal uncle’s (Chachas) daughter cannot be married by a boy as she is a sister to him. In Islam, marriages takes places from Chachi’s side and hence they, comparatively, have more organ defective babies, than any other person who married maternal uncle’s and paternal aunty’s daughter. Genetically, this appears to be wrong. A deep study taking the specific organ defective baby’s case needed in this regard.

  99. Santosh  February 8, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I dont think that list of original brahmin gotras is correct . Its missing one of tne brahmin gotra which is Shandilya gotra. Also its wrong to say that today marriages dont care about gotras…infact even today it is checked in arranged marriages. No one would like to marry in same gotra even today.

  100. Arjunabhimanyu  February 13, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I think its very religious information what I learned from this site. It’s a great thing related to the genetic study. Here also some confidential matters are there aboutvedic,genetic, human’slife, etc …..its such very nice things…..

  101. VSN SHARMA  February 24, 2016 at 6:16 am


  102. Padmanabhan  March 27, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    The Gothra system was correct. But at one point the male or female partner belongs to other community the family Chain broke.or it leads to other problems,,, isn;t it…?

  103. Raghav  April 1, 2016 at 8:05 am

    It is so wonderful to know that our ancestors were so intelligent. I have a few questions. So which lineage do the rishis belong to? Could it be possible that two rishis belong to the same clan? Also, how did the rishis identify about the diminishing Y chromosome? According to Hindi mythology, the Rishis were so powerful and very intellectual, but still they couldn’t find a way to rectify the issue? ve just curious

  104. manjee  April 2, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Fascinating read, though it always makes me wonder why it’s always male male male. I mean, all the Saptarishis are male. Now there’s a convenient excuse as to why only the Father’s gotra matters, and not the mothers. Only Sons can perform their parent’s death rites. And so on.

    As a Hindu, I must mention that this same bias towards the male exists in all religions – Jesus and all the apostles were male. All 10 sikh gurus were male. All our Saptarishis are male. Of course, God is always addressed as male, in all the religions. It’s as if the female has no value, no place in this universe. Sigh.

    • Sanskriti  April 2, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      There are many stories of women in Hinduism. It is always the Devi that precedes the Deva in every aspect. The wives of Saptarishis are also venerated as much as their male counterparts. I think you may have heard of their names:

      Atri: Anusuya
      Bharadvaja: Susheela
      Gautam: Ahalya
      Jamadagni: Renuka
      Kashyapa: Aditi and Diti
      Vasishta: Arundhati
      Vishwamitra: Sruti

      It is just that most of us are not aware of the feminine aspects and have been made to believe that Hinduism has always been a misogynist religion.

      There is also no indication of women not allowed to take part in death rites in Dharmashastra and it may have been a practice started during medieval times. Mahabharata clearly indicates participation of women in the death rituals and many women do pind daan as well if there is no son in the family. We have to remember that when a girl is married, it is considered a kanyadaan and she becomes the householder of her newly adopted family. It is perhaps for this reason a woman cannot perform the final rites.

  105. Prashant  April 5, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Since everyone marries outside their gotra, the permutations are limited to the 8 rishis (even if their decendents are different, they still carry either the X or Y from one of these 8 rishis). After millions of years down the line, chances of not marrying someone with the same ancestral origin seems remote.

    Family 1: Boy (XY)
    Family 2: Girl 1 (XX), Girl 2 (XX)
    Family 3: Boy (XY)

    Boy from Family 1 marries Girl 1 from Family 2 and have a boy (Boy 1.2). Gotra is Family 1.
    Boy from Family 3 marries Girl 2 from Family 2 and have a girl (Girl 3.2). Gotra is Family 3.
    Now Boy 1.2 can marry Girl 3.2 as both are from different Gotra. But there is a common link (Family 2). The same X chromosome has come down in both Boy 1.2 and Girl 3.2 (refer “.2”) here. There are still chances of birth defects due to same X chromosomes coming from ancestor 2.

    Considering such combinations down the line for millions of years (even when they are not cousins), can lead to genetic defects. Just a thought.

  106. Chandrasekaran  April 21, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    In case of adoption of a boy,his Y chromosomes can not be changed . What will happen to the child ?when he marries to the same gotthra girl, No answer is given in case of adoption. I am eagerly awaiting for answer ??

  107. Sudha  April 23, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Saptha means 7 and +1 bharaswajasa

  108. arjun  May 13, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    very educational. historical and scientific.

  109. ashutosh kumar  May 16, 2016 at 4:31 am

    Its have many flaws like what before those rishis was y chromosones did not exsited then no account of mutation deep the linage there whould be diffrent y chrimosome if not all persone from same group have same hollandric geens like hair on ear and adopted child will not have same geen pool
    so these system is useless

  110. Marc Henri  May 21, 2016 at 3:12 am

    Namaste !

    I love your Sanskriti magazine.com. I understand that too much attention on body (physical) features, genes, skin color, etc. is totally contrary to spiritual values, compassion, divine love, harmony, peace, etc. This – among many other things – tend to divide humans and promote divisions, hate and violence.

    Krishna was dark skin. His half-brother Balaram was white skin, etc.
    The great immortal Tamil saint Ramalinga Vallalar was for pure compassion and grace divine. This is the true path to real lasting peace, love and harmony among people.

    India can be a great example to the world in spreading those values and qualities (sattva).
    Thank you and God bless India.


  111. Aparna Passi  May 24, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Read about matriarchy in India. Then we shall talk again on the topics of genetics and male dominance!

  112. Mallappa Basvanna  June 6, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    What about billions of people in the world who do not have a gothra?

  113. M Basvanna  June 6, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Atri’s wife is Anasuya not Anusuya.

  114. Pingback: Why Vedic Traditions refuse to die….. – shantanucblog

  115. Tia  August 22, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Great! Excellent information and makes sense about the Gotras too. Our Ancient Rishis were amazing – such advanced science through our Holy Vedas, that today’s science has not even begun to come anywhere near scratching the surface. Such great knowledge and so rich in every sphere. Proud of Hinduism. Blessed to be born as a Hindu.

  116. Jimmy Goswamy  August 26, 2016 at 11:47 pm


    I belong to a Brahman family and my gotra is Kashyap. I’ve seen a girl for marriage and she also belongs to the same gotra but belongs to a Kshatriya family.

    Now everything is matching between us but her parents are concern about the gotra which is stopping them to take a further step whether to say YES or NO for our marriage.

    Please can anyone help me out whether we can take a further step and get married.

  117. Tag Pillay  September 5, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Please relate the gotras to the blood Groups. There are two races (blood groups) ie. Rhesus positive and Rhesus negatives because the Vedas are alien in origin and genetic engineering enabled the zero gravity soul into an animal ape body.

    So terrestrials are rhesus positive and Brahmins (alien oriented teachers) are supposed to be Rhesus negatives.

    The rhesus positives (99%)cannot cope with 22+1 chromosomes when in fact their origin were 24-chromosomes.


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