We attempt to address the issue of genetic variation and the pattern of male gene flow among and between five Indian population groups of two different geographic and linguistic affiliations using Y-chromosome markers. We studied 221 males at three Y-chromosome biallelic loci and 184 males for the five Y-chromosome STRs. We observed 111 Y-chromosome STR haplotypes. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) based on
Y-chromosome STRs showed that the variation observed between the population groups belonging to two major regions (western and southwestern India) was 0.17%, which was significantly lower than the level of genetic variance among the five populations (0.59%) considered as a single group. Combined haplotype analysis of the five STRs and the biallelic locus 92R7 revealed minimal sharing of haplotypes among these five ethnic groups, irrespective of the similar origin of the linguistic and geographic affiliations; this minimal sharing indicates restricted male gene flow. As a consequence, most of the haplotypes were population specific. Network analysis showed that the haplotypes, which were shared between the populations, seem to have originated from different mutational pathways at different loci. Biallelic markers showed that all five ethnic groups have a similar ancestral origin despite their geographic and linguistic diversity.