She has investigated how African baobabs were introduced in to the Indian Subcontiment by combining genetic analysis of the trees from Africa, India and the Mascarenes. Her results show that “The genetic analysis produced very interesting results. First of all, it showed that the Indian baobabs were the same species as the African species Adansonia digitata, and that there was less genetic diversity in the Indian baobab populations compared to the African populations. This confirmed our hunch that the baobabs had not been in the Indian subcontinent long enough for the populations to diversify, and that their dispersal by ocean currents was less likely than introduction by humans. Although many of the Indian baobabs showed close relationship with populations from coastal areas of Kenya and Tanzania, there were some that showed closer relationships with baobabs from coastal and inland Mozambique, and also, surprisingly, from West Africa.” she writes in her article on www.theconversation.com.
The full study can be read on http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/9/150370.
In my first trip of The Sidi Project I visited the Sidi of Bhuj in the far west of Gujarat Province in India I was taken to one such tree. Located in the middle of a Bhuj high-school stands a large Baobab tree which has baffled locals for decades as to its original origin.