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This article is merely an attempt to find the scientific reasoning behind the origins of the ancient Gotra System and in no way endorses its imposition in the modern Hindu society to decide marriages or other things.
In all probabilities, the modern Gotra system is no more relevant, and the best method to verify the genetic feasibility of a marriage, if at all required, would be to avoid cousin marriages (which have been proved to increase the risk of genetic disorders in the off springs) or to do a genetic test of the bride and groom’s DNA for any possible genetic disorders in their off springs.
But again I used to think, what a crap, how can a boy and a girl belonging to two different families who haven’t met for centuries be considered as siblings?
Only until I was able to correlate a puzzle in modern Genetics to the Gotra system.
So Gotra refers to the Root Person in a person’s male lineage. See here for a List of Hindu Gotras practiced by different sections of the Hindu Society Brahmins identify their male lineage by considering themselves to be the descendants of the 8 great Rishis ie Saptarshis (The Seven Sacred Saints) Bharadwaja Rishi.
So the list of root Brahmin Gotras is as follows These 8 Rishis are called Gotrakarin meaning roots of Gotras.
And now to the Science behind the Gotra System, but before that let us just check out one more additional rule related to marriages in the Gotra System.
This Gotra system helps one identify his male lineage and is passed down automatically from Father to Son.
Now consider two derived Gotras which came from the same Gotra, then it might happen that over time people might forget that both these Gotras came from the same root Gotra, and may allow marriages within these Gotras since their names are different!