Local scientists have warned that the authentic Veddas were in grave danger of being wiped out from a catastrophic event such as an infectious disease or specific virus, due to their lack of genetic diversity as a result of inbreeding.

Local forensic geneticists and molecular anthropologists urged the Government to establish a mechanism to ensure that the authentic Veddas are attended to, well cared for and maintained, and their genetic makeup (genome) is preserved  without them being exposed unnecessarily. A research study has been conducted by Head of the Molecular Forensics Section at Genetech Molecular Diagnostics, Sri Lanka, Dr. Ruwan J. Illeperuma to ascertain how the genetic genealogy of the Veddas of Sri Lanka evolved.

The study has been done in the light of various population groups in Sri Lanka using the biological samples from a crowd from among the various ethnic groups including the Veddas, the Sinhalese, the Sri Lankan Tamils, the Indian Tamils and the Moors, selected after reviewing their genetic pedigree as far back as several generations.

Two markers in the human genome have been used in the study. The two include the maternal and paternal lineage, in cases where the maternal and paternal lineage has remained unchanged due to inbreeding. This essentially refers to cases where there has been no absorption of genes to the general genetic markers by way of intermixing with several other population groups.

The Veddas in this group thereby have the distinction of being identified as authentic Veddas as opposed to the Vedda community in Dambana, off Mahiyangana who are mainly those who have intermixed with the Sinhalese and the Tamils and thus have had their genetic makeup diluted to a certain extent due to the intermixing of genes and are therefore not authentic Veddas. Such present day Vedda individuals have been traced through key techniques such as looking for possible effects from intermixing and their genetic signatures, and have thus been found to possess a unique genetic signature.
Dr. Illeperuma explained that such authentic Veddas are currently found in other small highly isolated pocket areas in Henanigala, which is before Maha Oya, Rathugala, which is between Bibile and Ampara, and Polonnaruwa, adding that the general populous would however not be able to identify them as Veddas.

Due to inbreeding most suffer from genetic disorders, he pointed out, adding that young children especially were and are suffering from vision impairments, speech impediments, defects in limbs and defects in the fingers of their hands.