An Indian spelling gene which is triggered by geography?

Indian Americans now totally dominate the US Spelling Bee competition. It was the third straight year of joint winners at the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Nihar Janga, 11, of Austin, Texas, and Jairam Hathwar, 13, of Corning, New York, were declared co-champions at the National Spelling Bee on Thursday.

May 26, 2016; National Harbor, MD, USA; Jairam Hathwar, 13, of Painted Post, N.Y. (L), and Nihar Janga, 11, of Austin, Texas (R), celebrate as co-champions during the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Image : Reuters

Seventeen out of the last twenty one winners (from 1999 to 2016), including all champions for the most recent nine years (from 2008-2016, including 2014, 2015, and 2016’s pairs of co-champions, for a total of twelve champions during this interval), have been Indian Americans, reflecting the recent dominance of students of this community in this competition. Indian Americans make up less than one percent of the U.S. population. In 2016, Nihar Janga from Austin, Texas, became the youngest ever champion when he won the title at the age of 11.

The 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee featured co-champions for the sixth time in the competition’s history, the previous occurrences having been in 1950, 1957, 1962, 2014, and 2015. (Wikipedia)

It must be genetic. But for some reason the spelling gene does not express itself in India. Obviously some epigenetic factor is in play.

My hypothesis is that all Indians have the spelling gene but it is only expressed when triggered by a geographical factor to be found only in the US.


Why are Indian-Americans sweeping the US spelling bee?



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