It's time I stated more on this Jewish DNA stuff.

I would not be at all surprised to find this DNA bit was done by a sect of ORTHODOX Jews. Some of them MAY have, MAY have kept themselves more "Jewish" than a huge majority of other "Jews" - and so Orthodox Jews [you see them at the Wailing Wall each day] have a theology that is from planet Pluto. Or this may have come from an even more fanatical group, from ULTRA-ORTHODOX Jews, even more way out in theology than planet Pluto.

Either of these two groups would well be responsible for this DNA stuff.  Whoever did it, have they taken all the DNA from all about 14 million Jews in the world. I'll bet not. Why? One huge reason; If you go over to the state of Israel you'll find they are in the vast majority SECULAR, not religious. You will find Jews of every shape, build, color of hair, huge lot of them with no typical "big nose." The orthodox Jews are mainly the men at the Wailing Wall.....thin, dark haired, and big noses.  That is far from the majority of all the Jews of the world. Why? One big reason.....many are secular and they have in-bred with other nationalities.

Years ago I wanted to see what these Messianic Jewish congregations were all about. Over a two year period I got to know a lady, she would in conversation, privately to me, complain and say to me. "Keith, How many Jews, real Jews do you think are here in this group?" I told her I had no Idea..... "Well  out  of  100 or so in attendance there is about 5,  AND  I  AM  ONE  OF  THEM!  Can prove it!" Now to look at her you'd never now she was Jewish,  she came from Europe, but she would be taken for a heavy plump Anglo/Saxon type.

When I was working for a Music Teaching school, the parents to the son were real Jews, but again you'd never know, looked Anglo/Saxon people from Britain, they were from Britain. No large nose....AND GET THIS, they talked to ANYONE about being Jews. I learnt directly from their son, that they were true Jews, even the son did not look Jewish at all.  And his parents stayed away from telling  anyone  they  were  Jews....they were not religious Jews. The son.....he married an Anglo/Saxon girl. Many Many Jews [especially if not religious], marry non-Jews.

MANY MANY MANY Jews down through time have intermarried, Many do not want to be known as Jews, and Many of those Many do not even look like the Jews you see at the Wailing Wall.

The ORTHODOX AND ULTA-ORTHODOX JEWS would be the only ones of the Jews that would bother getting a DNA....making a big vanity thing about it....most Jews could care less.

As stated before under Moses Israel was always allowing Gentiles to join them IF they wanted to serve the Israel God. Many marriages would have taken place between Israelites and non-Israelites.  It had to be so  because marrying constantly within your own clan [presuming all 13 tribes had the same DNA which they did not] - no new DNA coming.....you get eventually physical problems.....it's the same idea as "inbreeding" with cats and dogs. Ultra pure-breeds often have physical problem in time, problem with their offspring. You want to go packing through the hills in the wild and  tree line for days on horse-back,  you  get  a  Heinz  57  -  a  mut  of  a  horse  -  and  they'll do a better  job  than  some  pure or thoroughbred horse. Well the fact is the 13 tribes of Israel were always inter-marrying.



Surprise: Ashkenazi Jews Are Genetically European

By Tia Ghose, Staff Writer | October 8, 2013 11:00am ET

The origin of the Ashkenazi Jews, who come most recently from Europe, has largely been shrouded in mystery. But a new study suggests that at least their maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe.

Though the finding may seem intuitive, it contradicts the notion that European Jews mostly descend from people who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago. Instead, a substantial proportion of the population originates from local Europeans who converted to Judaism, said study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England.

Tangled legacy

Little is known about the history of Ashkenazi Jews before they were expelled from the Mediterranean and settled in what is now Poland around the 12th century. On average, all Ashkenazi Jews are genetically as closely related to each other as fourth or fifth cousins, said Dr. Harry Ostrer, a pathology, pediatrics and genetics professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the author of "Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People" (Oxford University Press, 2012).

But depending on whether the lineage gets traced through maternal or paternal DNA or through the rest of the genome, researchers got very different answers for whether Ashkenazi originally came from Europe or the Near East.

Past research found that 50 percent to 80 percent of DNA from the Ashkenazi Y chromosome, which is used to trace the male lineage, originated in the Near East, Richards said. That supported a story wherein Jews came from Israel and largely eschewed intermarriage when they settled in Europe. [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]

But historical documents tell a slightly different tale. Based on accounts such as those of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, by the time of the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, as many as 6 million Jews were living in the Roman Empire, but outside Israel, mainly in Italy and Southern Europe. In contrast, only about 500,000 lived in Judea, said Ostrer, who was not involved in the new study.

"The major Jewish communities were outside Judea," Ostrer told LiveScience.

Maternal DNA

Richards and his colleagues analyzed mitochondrial DNA, which is contained in the cytoplasm of the egg and passed down only from the mother, from more than 3,500 people throughout the Near East, the Caucusus and Europe, including Ashkenazi Jews.

The team found that four founders were responsible for 40 percent of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA, and that all of these founders originated in Europe. The majority of the remaining people could be traced to other European lineages.

All told, more than 80 percent of the maternal lineages of Ashkenazi Jews could be traced to Europe, with only a few lineages originating in the Near East.

Virtually none came from the North Caucasus, located along the border between Europe and Asia between the Black and Caspian seas.

The finding should thoroughly debunk one of the most questionable, but still tenacious, hypotheses: that most Ashkenazi Jews can trace their roots to the mysterious Khazar Kingdom that flourished during the ninth century in the region between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire, Richards and Ostrer said.

The genetics suggest many of the founding Ashkenazi women were actually converts from local European populations.

"The simplest explanation was that it was mainly women who converted and they married with men who'd come from the Near East," Richards told LiveScience.

Another possibility is that Jews actively converted both men and women among local populations at this time, although researchers would need more detailed study of paternal lineages to test that hypothesis, Richards said.


Genetic studies on Jews

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Genetic studies on Jews are part of the population genetics discipline and are used to better understand the chronology of migration provided by research in other fields, such as history, archaeology, linguistics, and paleontology. These studies investigate the origins of various Jewish populations today. In particular, they investigate whether there is a common genetic heritage among various Jewish populations.

Studies of autosomal DNA, which look at the entire DNA mixture, show that Jewish populations have tended to form relatively closely related groups in independent communities, with most in a community sharing significant ancestry.[1] For populations of the Jewish diaspora, the genetic composition of Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jewish populations of European maternal linage show a predominant amount of shared Middle Eastern ancestry. According to Behar and colleagues (2010), this is "consistent with the historical formulation theories the Jewish people as descending from ancient Hebrew and Israelites of the Levant" and "the dispersion of the people of ancient Israel throughout the Old World".[2] Jews living in the North African, Italian, and Iberian regions show variable frequencies of admixture with the historical non-Jewish host population along the maternal lines. In the case of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews (in particular Moroccan Jews), who are closely related, the source of non-Jewish admixture is mainly southern European. Behar and colleagues have remarked on an especially close relationship between Ashkenazi Jews and modern Italians.[2][3][4]

  • Background[edit]

    Since the 1970s, many studies have attempted to determine whether common ancestors existed to the present Jewish communities or if the descendants are related instead to the non-Jewish populations where they lived.

    The earlier studies tried to answer this question using "classic" genetic markers (blood groups, enzymes, etc.).[5] Contradictory answers were given according to the loci used.[6] One explanation for these contradictions is that the variations associated with a locus are influenced by natural selection.[6] Since the late 1980s and especially since the beginning of the twenty-first century, geneticists have worked on analysis of the Y chromosome (transmitted from father to son), or mitochondrial DNA (transmitted from mother to child), which have the characteristic to be transmitted in full (without recombination). It is possible to trace the common direct-line ancestral populations of various peoples of the world.

    Recent studies[edit]

    Recent studies have been conducted on a large number of genes homologous chromosomes or autosomes (all chromosomes except chromosomes X and Y). A 2009 study was able to genetically identify individuals with full or partial Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.[7] In August 2012, Dr. Harry Ostrer in his book Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People,summarized his and other work in genetics of the last 20 years, and concluded that all major Jewish groups share a common Middle Eastern origin. Ostrer also claimed to have refuted the Khazar theory of Ashkenazi ancestry.[8] Citing autosomal DNA studies, Nicholas Wade estimates that "Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews have roughly 30 percent European ancestry, with most of the rest from the Middle East." He further noticed that "The two communities seem very similar to each other genetically, which is unexpected because they have been separated for so long." Concerning this relationship he points to Atzmon's conclusions that "the shared genetic elements suggest that members of any Jewish community are related to one another as closely as are fourth or fifth cousins in a large population, which is about 10 times higher than the relationship between two people chosen at random off the streets of New York City"[9] Concerning North African Jews, autosomal genetic analysis in 2012 revealed that North African Jews are genetically close to European Jews. This finding "shows that North African Jews date to biblical-era Israel, and are not largely the descendants of natives who converted to Judaism,"[10] Y DNA studies examine various paternal lineages of modern Jewish populations. Such studies tend to imply a small number of founders in an old population whose members parted and followed different migration paths.[6] In most Jewish populations, these male line ancestors appear to have been mainly Middle Eastern. For example, Ashkenazi Jews share more common paternal lineages with other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than with non-Jewish populations in areas where Jews lived in Eastern Europe, Germany and the French Rhine Valley. This is consistent with Jewish traditions in placing most Jewish paternal origins in the region of the Middle East.[11][12]

    A study conducted in 2013 found no evidence of a Khazar origin for Ashkenazi Jews and suggested that "Ashkenazi Jews share the greatest genetic ancestry with other Jewish populations, and among non-Jewish populations, with groups from Europe and the Middle East. No particular similarity of Ashkenazi Jews with populations from the Caucasus is evident, particularly with the populations that most closely represent the Khazar region. Thus, analysis of Ashkenazi Jews together with a large sample from the region of the Khazar Khaganate corroborates the earlier results that Ashkenazi Jews derive their ancestry primarily from populations of the Middle East and Europe, that they possess considerable shared ancestry with other Jewish populations, and that there is no indication of a significant genetic contribution either from within or from north of the Caucasus region."[13]

    In a 2016 study Wexler, Elhaik, et al. argued based on a genetic study of Yiddish speakers that the first Ashkenazi populations to speak the Yiddish language came from areas near four villages in Eastern Turkey along the Silk Road whose names derived from the word "Ashkenaz". Elhaik and Wexler proposed a variant to the canonical Khazarian hypothesis whereas Iranians, Greeks, Turkish, and Slavs converted to Judaism in Turkey prior to migrating to Khazaria where a small scale conversion took place.[14][15] Elhaik and Wexler's 2016 study was criticised by Sergio DellaPergola, the primary demographer of the Jewish people at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who called it a "falsification", criticizing its methodology, using a small population size and selectively removing population groups that refuted the findings they wanted, namely other Jewish groups such as the Italkim andSephardic Jews, to whom Ashkenazi Jews are closely related genetically. “Serious research would have factored in the glaring genetic similarity between Sephardim and Ashkenazim, which mean Polish Jews are more genetically similar to Iraqi Jews than to a non-Jewish Pole.”[16] Elhaik replied that “studying the DNA of non-Ashkenazic Jews would not change the DNA of Ashkenazic Jews nor the predicted origin of their DNA.'[17]

    Maternal lineages[edit]

    The maternal lineages of Jewish populations, studied by looking at mitochondrial DNA, are generally more heterogeneous.[18] Scholars such as Harry Ostrer and Raphael Falk believe this may indicate that many Jewish males found new mates from European and other communities in the places where they migrated in the diaspora after fleeing ancient Israel.[19]Behar et al. in 2008 published evidence suggesting that about 40% of Ashkenazi Jews originate maternally from just four female founders of likely Near-Eastern origin while the populations of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities "showed no evidence for a narrow founder effect".[18] Evidence for female founders has been observed in other Jewish populations. With the exception of Ethiopian and Indian Jews, it has been argued that all of the Jewish populations have mitochondrial genomes that were of Middle Eastern origin.[20][21] In 2013, Richards et al. to the contrary published work suggesting that an estimated "80 percent of Ashkenazi maternal ancestry comes from women indigenous to Europe, and 8 percent from the Near East, with the rest uncertain",[22] suggesting that Jewish males migrated to Europe and took new wives from the local population, and converted them to Judaism. Another study by Eva Fernandez et al. argues that the K lineages in Ashkenazi Jews might have an ancient Near Eastern source.[23]

    DNA evidence[edit]

    Studies of autosomal DNA, which look at the entire DNA mixture, have become increasingly important as the technology develops. They show that Jewish populations have tended to form relatively closely related groups in independent communities, with most in a community sharing significant ancestry in common.[1] For Jewish populations of the diaspora, the genetic composition of Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jewish populations show a predominant amount of shared Middle Eastern ancestry. According to Behar, the most parsimonious explanation for this shared Middle Eastern ancestry is that it is "consistent with the historical formulation of the Jewish people as descending from ancient Hebrew and Israelite residents of the Levant" and "the dispersion of the people of ancient Israel throughout the Old World".[2] North African, Italian and others of Iberian origin show variable frequencies of admixture with non-Jewish historical host populations among the maternal lines. In the case of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews (in particular Moroccan Jews), who are apparently closely related, the non-Jewish component is mainly southern European.[3] The studies show that the Bene Israel and Black Cochin Jews of India, Beta Israel of Ethiopia, and a portion of the Lemba people of southern Africa, while more closely resembling the local populations of their native countries, have some ancient Jewish descent.[21][24][25][26]

    Paternal lineage, Y chromosome[edit]

    In 1992 G. Lucotte and F. David were the first genetic researchers to have documented a common paternal genetic heritage between Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews.[27][28] In 1993, A. S. Santachiara Benerecetti, et al. suggested the Middle Eastern origin of Jewish paternal lineages.[29]

    In 2000, M. Hammer, et al. conducted a study on 1371 men and definitively established that part of the paternal gene pool of Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa and Middle East came from a common Middle East ancestral population. They suggested that most Jewish communities in the Diaspora remained relatively isolated and endogamous compared to non-Jewish neighbor populations.[6][21][30]

    In a study of Israeli and Palestinian Muslim Arabs, more than 70% of the Jewish men and 82% of the Arab men whose DNA was studied, had inherited their Y chromosomes from the same paternal ancestors, who lived in the region within the last few thousand years. "Our recent study of high-resolution microsatellite haplotypes demonstrated that a substantial portion of Y chromosomes of Jews (70%) and of Palestinian Muslim Arabs (82%) belonged to the same chromosome pool."[31] In relation to the region of the Fertile Crescent, the same study noted; "In comparison with data available from other relevant populations in the region, Jews were found to be more closely related to groups in the north of the Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks, and Armenians) than to their Arab neighbors."[32]

    Approximately 35% to 43% of Jewish men are in the paternal line known as haplogroup J[Note 1] and its sub-haplogroups. This Haplogroup is particularly present in the Middle East, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa.[33] Fifteen to 30% are in haplogroup E1b1b[Note 2], (or E-M35) and its sub-haplogroups.

    Y-DNA of Ashkenazi Jews[edit]

    A study of haplotypes of the Y chromosome, published in 2000, addressed the paternal origins of Ashkenazi Jews. Hammer et al.[35] concluded that the Y chromosome of most Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews contained mutations that are also common among Middle Eastern peoples, but uncommon in the general European population. This suggested that the male ancestors of the Ashkenazi Jews could be traced mostly to the Middle East. The proportion of male genetic admixture in Ashkenazi Jews amounts to less than 0.5% per generation over an estimated 80 generations, with "relatively minor contribution of European Y chromosomes to the Ashkenazim," and a total admixture estimate "very similar to Motulsky's average estimate of 12.5%." However, when all haplotypes were included in the analysis, the admixture percentage increased to 23% ± 7%.[Note 3] Hammer et al. add that "Diaspora Jews from Europe, Northwest Africa, and the Near East resemble each other more closely than they resemble their non-Jewish neighbors." In addition, the authors have found that the "Jewish cluster was interspersed with the Palestinian and Syrian populations, whereas the other Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations (Saudi Arabians, Lebanese, and Druze) closely surrounded it. Of the Jewish populations in this cluster, the Ashkenazim were closest to South European populations (specifically the Greeks) and also to the Turks."

    The frequency of haplogroup R1b in the Ashkenazim population is similar to the frequency of R1b in Middle Eastern populations. Given that haplogroup R1b is particularly abundant in populations of Western Europe, studies of Nebel et al. (2001) and Behar et al. (2004)[36] suggest some Western European contribution to those ~10% of R1b found among Ashkenazim. The Behar et al. large 2004 study of Ashkenazi Jews records a percentage of 5% - 8% European contribution to the Ashkenazi gene pool.[Note 4] In the words of Behar:

    Because haplogroups R-M17 (R1a) and R-P25 (R1b) are present in non-Ashkenazi Jewish populations (e.g., at 4% and 10%, respectively) and in non-Jewish Near Eastern populations (e.g., at 7% and 11%, respectively; Hammer et al. 2000; Nebel et al. 2001), it is likely that they were also present at low frequency in the AJ (Ashkenazi Jewish) founding population. The admixture analysis shown in Table 6 suggests that 5%–8% of the Ashkenazi gene pool is, indeed, comprised of Y chromosomes that may have introgressed from non-Jewish European populations.

    For G. Lucotte et al.,[37] the R1b frequency is about 11%.[Note 5] In 2004, When the calculation is made excluding Jews from Netherlands the R1b rate is 5% ± 11.6%.[36]

    Two studies by Nebel et al. in 2001 and 2005, based on Y chromosome polymorphic markers, suggested that Ashkenazi Jews are more closely related to other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than to their host populations in Europe (defined in the using Eastern European, German, and French Rhine Valley populations). Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Kurdish Jews were all very closely related to the populations of the Fertile Crescent, even closer than to Arabs. The study speculated that the ancestors of the Arab populations of the Levant might have diverged due to mixing with migrants from the Arabian Peninsula.[38] However, 11.5% of male Ashkenazim were found to belong to R1a1a (R-M17), the dominant Y chromosome haplogroup in Eastern European populations. They hypothesized that these chromosomes could reflect low-level gene flow from surrounding Eastern European populations, or, alternatively, that both the Ashkenazi Jews with R1a1a (R-M17), and to a much greater extent Eastern European populations in general, might partly be descendants of Khazars. They concluded "However, if the R1a1a (R-M17) chromosomes in Ashkenazi Jews do indeed represent the vestiges of the mysterious Khazars then, according to our data, this contribution was limited to either a single founder or a few closely related men, and does not exceed ~12% of the present-day Ashkenazim.".[11][39] This hypothesis is also supported by the D. Goldstein in his book Jacob's legacy: A genetic view of Jewish history.[40] However, Faerman (2008) states that "External low-level gene flow of possible Eastern European origin has been shown in Ashkenazim but no evidence of a hypothetical Khazars' contribution to the Ashkenazi gene pool has ever been found.".[41]

    Furthermore, 7%[36][42] of Ashkenazi have the haplogroup G2c, Behar et al. suggest that those haplogroups are minor Ashkenazi Jews founding lineages.[36]

    A 2003 study of the Y chromosomes of Ashkenazi Levites, a priestly class who comprise 4% of Ashkenazi Jews, found that the haplogroup R1a1a (R-M17), which is uncommon in the Middle East or among Sephardic Jews but dominant in Eastern Europe, is present in about 50% of Ashkenazi Levites, while the rest of the Ashkenazi Levites' paternal lineage is of apparent Middle Eastern origin. The study also found this haplogroup to be present in 1.7% of Ashkenazi Cohanim.[43]

    Among Ashkenazi Jews, Jews of Netherlands seem to have a particular haplogroups distribution since nearly one quarter of them have the Haplogroup R1b1 (R-P25), in particular sub-haplogroup R1b1b2 (R-M269), which is characteristic of Western European populations.[36]

    Ashkenazi men show low Y-DNA diversity within each major haplogroup, meaning that compared to the size of the modern population, it seems there were once a relatively small number of men having children. This possibly results from a series of founder events and high rates of endogamy within Europe. Despite Ashkenazi Jews representing a recently founded population in Europe, founding effects suggest that they probably derived from a large and diverse ancestral source population in the Middle East, who may have been larger than the source population from which the indigenous Europeans derived.[36]

    University of Sheffield geneticist Dr. Eran Elhaik stated in a 2012 study that; "Both mtDNA and Y-chromosomal analyses yield high similarities between European Jews and Caucasus populations rooted in the Caucasus in support of the Khazarian hypothesis." and that "the paternal ancestry reveals a dual Caucasus–Southern European origin."[45]

    Y-DNA of Sephardi Jews[edit]

    The term "Sephardi" refers to significantly different populations from one study to another. It can have a very restrictive meaning and only referring to people speaking Judeo-Spanish(excluding Moroccan Jews) or at the opposite the term Sephardi may designate all non-Ashkenazi populations (excluding Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen and the Kurdish Jews). Between these two extremes, all kinds of variations exist.

    Investigations made by Nebel et al.[11] on the genetic relationships among Ashkenazi Jews, Kurdish and Sephardi (North Africa, Turkey, Iberian Peninsula, Iraq and Syria) indicate that Jews of European maternal linage are more genetically similar to groups in northern Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks and Armenians) than to Arabs. Considering the timing of this origin, the study found that "the common genetic Middle Eastern background (of Jewish populations ) predates the ethnogenesis in the region and concludes that the Y chromosome pool of Jews is an integral part of the genetic landscape of Middle East.[11]

    Y-DNA of Jews from North Africa[edit]

    The largest study to date on the Jews of North Africa has been led by Gerard Lucotte et al. in 2003.[37] This study showed that the Jews of North Africa[Note 7] showed frequencies of their paternal haplotypes almost equal to those of the Lebanese and Palestinian non-Jews.

    The authors also compared the distribution of haplotypes of Jews from North Africa with Sephardi Jews and Ashkenazi Jews and found a common European origin between these groups.[46] The Jewish community of the island of Djerba in Tunisia is of special interest, Tradition traces this community's origins back to the time of the destruction of the First Temple. Two studies have attempted to test this hypothesis first by G. Lucotte et al. from 1993,[47] the second of F. Manni et al. of 2005.[48] They also conclude that the Jews of Djerba's paternal gene pool is different from the Arabs and Berbers of the island. For the first 77.5% of samples tested are of haplotype VIII (probably similar to the J haplogroup according Lucotte), the second shows that 100% of the samples are of Haplogroup J *. The second suggests that it is unlikely that the majority of this community comes from an ancient colonization of the island while for Lucotte it is unclear whether this high frequency is really an ancient relationship.

    These studies therefore suggest that the paternal lineage of North African Jews comes predominantly from the Middle East with a minority contribution of African lineages, probably Berbers.

    Y-DNA of Portuguese Jews[edit]

    A recent study by Inês Nogueiro et al. (July 2009) on the Jews of north-eastern Portugal (region of Trás-os-Montes) showed that their paternal lines consisted of 35.2% lineages more typical of Europe (R : 31.7%, I : 3.5%), and 64.8% lineages more typical of the Near East than Europe (E1b1b: 8.7%, G: 3.5%, J: 36.8%, T: 15.8%) and consequently, the Portuguese Jews of this region were genetically closer to other Jewish populations than to Portuguese non-Jews.[49]

    Y-DNA of Oriental Jews[edit]

    Lucotte et al. 2003 study found that (Oriental, Sephardic, Ashkenazic Jews and Lebanese and Palestinians), "seem to be similar in their Y-haplotype patterns, both with regard to the haplotype distributions and the ancestral haplotype VIII frequencies." The authors stated in their findings that these results confirm similarities in the Y-haplotype frequencies of this Near-Eastern populations, sharing a common geographic origin."[50]

    Y-DNA of Roman Jews[edit]

    Hammer et al.[6] maintained that the paternal lines of Jews from Rome were close to those of Ashkenazi Jews. They also claim that these mostly originated from the Middle East.

    Y-DNA of Kurdish Jews[edit]

    In the article by Nebel et al.[11] the authors show that Kurdish and Sephardi Jews have indistinguishable paternal genetic heritage. The study shows that mixtures between Kurdish Jews and their Muslim hosts are negligible and that Kurdish Jews are closer to other Jewish groups than to their long term host population. Hammer[6] had already shown the strong correlation between the genetic heritage of Jews from North Africa with Kurdish Jews.

    Y-DNA of the Jews of Yemen[edit]

    The studies of Shen[44] and Hammer et al.[6] show that the paternal genes of Yemenite Jews is similar to that of other Jewish populations.

    Y-DNA of Mountain Jews[edit]

    A 2002 study by geneticist Dror Rosengarten found that the paternal haplotypes of Mountain Jews "were shared with other Jewish communities and were consistent with a Mediterranean origin." [51]

    Y-DNA of Jews from Ethiopia[edit]

    A study of [52] Lucotte and Smets has shown that the genetic father of Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) was close to the Ethiopian non-Jewish populations. This is consistent with the theory that Beta Israel are descendants of ancient inhabitants of Ethiopia, not the Middle East.

    Hammer et al. in 2000[6] and the team of Shen in 2004[44] arrive at similar conclusions, namely a genetic differentiation in – other people in the north of Ethiopia, which probably indicates a conversion of local populations.

    A 2010 study by Behar et al. on the genome-wide structure of Jews observed that the Beta Israel had similar levels of the Middle Eastern genetic clusters as the Semitic-speakingTigreans and Amharas. However, compared to the Cushitic-speaking Oromos, who are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, the Beta Israel had higher levels of European, Asian, and Middle Eastern admixture.[citation needed]

    Y-DNA of Indian Jews[edit]

    Genetic analysis shows that the Bene Israel of India cluster with the indigenous populations of western India and Ethiopia, but do have a clear paternal link to the populations of the Levant.[2] A recent more detailed study on Indian Jews has reported that the paternal ancestry of Indian Jews was also composed with some exclusive Middle East specific haplogroups (E,G, J(xJ2) and I) [53]

    Priestly Families[edit]

    See also: Y-chromosomal Aaron


    Nephrologist Dr. Karl Skorecki decided to analyze the Cohanim to see if they were the descendants of one man, in which case they should have a set of common genetic markers.

    To test this hypothesis, he contacted Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona, a researcher in molecular genetics and a pioneer in research on chromosome.[54] Their article, published in Nature in 1997, has had some impact. A set of special markers (called Cohen Modal Haplotype or CMH) was defined as one which is more likely to be present in theCohanim, defined as contemporary Jews named Cohen or a derivative, and it was proposed that this results from a common descent from the ancient priestly lineage than from the Jewish population in general.

    But, subsequent studies[55] showed that the number of genetic markers used and the number of samples (of people saying Cohen) were not big enough. The last study, conducted in 2009 by Hammer and Behar et al.,[42] says 20 of the 21 Cohen haplogroups have no single common haplogroup; five haplogroups comprise 79.5% of all haplogroups of Cohen. Among these first 5 haplogroups, J-P58 * (or J1E) accounts for 46.1% of Cohen and the second major haplogroup, J-M410 or J2am accounts for 14.4%. Hammer and Behar have redefined an extended MHC haplotype as determined by a set of 12 markers and having as "background" haplogroup determining the most important lines J1E (46.1%). This haplotype is absent among non-Jews in 2099 analyzed in the study. It appeared there would be a 3000 ± 1000 years. This study nevertheless confirms that the current Cohen lineage descended from a small number of paternal ancestors.

    In the summary of their findings the authors concluded that " Our estimates of the coalescence time also lend support to the hypothesis that the extended CMH represents a unique founding lineage of the ancient Hebrews that has been paternally inherited along with the Jewish priesthood."[56]

    In 2009 a study led by University of Pisa researcher Sergio Tofanelli argued against the claims of 'Cohen' studies. They write: "Furthermore, J1 STR motifs previously used to trace Arab or Jewish ancestries were shown unsuitable as diagnostic markers for ethnicity." The study also states; "Frequency peaks over 50% of the whole binary variation are present in Arabia (Yemen, Qatar), Northern Caucasus (Dagestan), Sudan and in Negev Bedouins (Supplementary Table S1)." In conclusion they state; "With the exception of the rare Palestinian modal haplotype,10 none of the previously described STR motifs resulted equal by descent, as they were found across ethnic groups with different cultural or geographic affiliation and in other lineages (J2, I*) than J1. Such results make their use to trace ancestries of individuals or communities (ie, Arab or Jewish) inconclusive. Calculations under the coalescent model for J1 haplotypes bearing the Cohanim motif gave time estimates that place the origin of this genealogy around 6.2 Kybp (95% CI: 4.5–8.6 Kybp), earlier than previously thought,4 and well before the origin of Judaism (David Kingdom, ~2.0 Kybp)."[57] In a 2014 study also carried out by the team headed by Sergio Tofanelli and entitled "Mitochondrial and Y chromosome haplotype motifs as diagnostic markers of Jewish ancestry: a reconsideration", the researchers found that, "While the observed distribution of sub-clades of haplotypes at mitochondrial and Y chromosome non-recombinant genomes might be compatible with founder events in recent times at the origin of Jewish groups as Cohenite, Levite, Ashkenazite, the overall substantial polyphyletism as well as their systematic occurrence in non-Jewish groups highlights the lack of support for using them either as markers of Jewish ancestry or Biblical tales. The authors discussed the origin of CMH and wrote "To make an example, the “CMH” signature, in its classical and extended version, has been observed in many haplotypes of inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula with typical Arabic names, as well as in many Jewish people belonging to haplogroups J1 and J2. The distribution of CMHs by ethnics and haplogroups is such to suggest that gene conversions, adoptions and illegitimate paternities could affect only marginally the results unless they were multiple and mainly occurred hundreds years ago.between 7600 and 10,400 years bp (95% CI), the “Cohen Modal Haplotype” was an ancestral haplotype for the historical inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula. About 4000 ± 520 years ago the establishing Jewish population carried this “modal haplotype” along with the future Arabs, who at that time had a common ancestor with the future Jews (Klyosov, 2010). By around the tenth century AD, a slightly modified “recent CMH” split from the “older CMH” (in more extended haplotype formats), while both of them contained the 6 marker signature of the “CMH,” which is still present in many Arabic haplotypes. This “recent CMH” became the ancestral haplotype for a separate albeit recent Jewish lineage within haplogroup J1. If one consider only “CMH” haplotypes within this population, a common ancestor who lived around 1255–986 years ago can be identified."[57]


    A 2003 study of the Y-chromosome by Behar et al. pointed to multiple origins for Ashkenazi Levites, a priestly class who comprise approximately 4% of Ashkenazi Jews. It found that Haplogroup R1a1a (R-M17), which is uncommon in the Middle East or among Sephardi Jews, but dominant in Eastern Europe, is present in over 50% of Ashkenazi Levites, while the rest of Ashkenazi Levites' paternal lineage is of apparent Middle Eastern origin. Behar suggested a founding event, probably involving one or very few European men, occurring at a time close to the initial formation and settlement of the Ashkenazi community as a possible explanation.[58] Nebel, Behar and Goldstein speculated that this may indicate a Khazar origin.[40]

    A 2013 study by Rootsi et al. found that R1a-M582, the specific subclade of R1a to which all sampled Ashkenazi Levites with R1a belonged, was completely absent of a sample of 922 Eastern Europeans and was only found in one of the 2,164 samples from the Caucasus, while it made up 33.8% of non-Levite Ashkenazi R1a and was also found in 5.9% of Near Easterners bearing R1a. The clade, though less represented in Near Easterners, was more diverse among them than among Ashkenazi Jews. Rootsi et al. argued this supports a Near Eastern Hebrew origin for the paternal lineage R1a present among Ashkenazi Levites:[59] R1a-M582 was also found among different Iranian populations, among Kurds from Cilician Anatolia and Kazakhstan, and among non-Ashkenazi Jews.

    "Previous Y-chromosome studies have demonstrated that Ashkenazi Levites, members of a paternally inherited Jewish priestly caste, display a distinctive founder event within R1a, the most prevalent Y-chromosome haplogroup in Eastern Europe. Here we report the analysis of 16 whole R1 sequences and show that a set of 19 unique nucleotide substitutions defines the Ashkenazi R1a lineage. While our survey of one of these, M582, in 2,834 R1a samples reveals its absence in 922 Eastern Europeans, we show it is present in all sampled R1a Ashkenazi Levites, as well as in 33.8% of other R1a Ashkenazi Jewish males and 5.9% of 303 R1a Near Eastern males, where it shows considerably higher diversity. Moreover, the M582 lineage also occurs at low frequencies in non-Ashkenazi Jewish populations. In contrast to the previously suggested Eastern European origin for Ashkenazi Levites, the current data are indicative of a geographic source of the Levite founder lineage in the Near East and its likely presence among pre-Diaspora Hebrews."[59]

    Maternal line: Mitochondrial DNA[edit]

    Studies of mitochondrial DNA of Jewish populations are more recent and are still debatable. However, it seems that there are no maternal lines common to all Jewish people.[18][Note 8]Until 2006, geneticists attributed most often the origin of Jewish populations to male individuals who emigrated from the Middle East and took women as wives in the indigenous populations, who later converted to Judaism.[19] D.M. Behar, et al. published a study in 2008 that tried to review this assertion.[18]

    According to M.G. Thomas, et al. in 2002, a number of Jewish communities reveal direct-line maternal ancestry originating from a few women. This was seen in independently founded communities in different geographic areas. What they shared was limited genetic additions later on the female side. Together, this is described as the founder effect. Those same communities had diversity in the male lines that was similar to the non-Jewish population.[60]

    Reflecting on previous mtDNA studies carried out by Behar, Atzmon et al. conclude that all major Jewish population groups are showing evidence for founder females of Middle Eastern origin with coalescence times >2000 years[20] A 2013 study, based on a much larger sample base, drew differing conclusions, namely, that the Mt-DNA of Ashkenazi Jews originated among southern European women, where Diaspora communities had been established centuries before the fall of the Second Temple in 70 CE.[61] A 2014 study by Fernandez et al. found that Ashkenazi Jews display a frequency of haplogroup K which suggests an ancient Near Eastern origin, stating that this observation clearly contradicts the results of the study led by Richards which suggested a predominantly European origin for the Ashkenazi communities. However, the authors of the 2014 study also state that definitively answering the question of whether this group was of Jewish origin rather than the result of a Neolithic migration to Europe would require the genotyping of the complete mtDNA in ancient Near Eastern populations.[62]

    Mt-DNA of Ashkenazi Jews[edit]

    A 2006 study by Behar et al.,[63] based on high-resolution analysis of Haplogroup K(mtDNA), suggested that about 40% of the current Ashkenazi population is descended matrilineally from just four women, or "founder lineages", of European origin and some "may" have mixture of a Hebrew/Levantine mtDNA pool" originating in the Middle East in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Moreover, a maternal line "sister" was found among the Jews of Portugal, North Africa, France, and Italy. They wrote:

    Both the extent and location of the maternal ancestral deme from which the Ashkenazi Jewry arose remain obscure. Here, using complete sequences of the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), we show that close to one-half of Ashkenazi Jews, estimated at 8,000,000 people, can be traced back to only four women carrying distinct mtDNAs that are virtually absent in other populations, with the important exception of low frequencies among non-Ashkenazi Jews. We conclude that four founding mtDNAs, likely of Near Eastern ancestry, underwent major expansion(s) in Europe within the past millennium...[21][63]

    A 2007 study by J. Feder et al.[64] confirms the hypothesis of the founding of non-European origin among the maternal lines. Their study did not address the geographical origin of Ashkenazim and therefore does not explicitly confirm the origin "Levantine" of these founders. This study revealed a significant divergence in total haplogroup distribution between the Ashkenazi Jewish populations and their European host populations, namely Russians, Poles and Germans. They concluded that, regarding mtDNAs, the differences between Jews and non-Jews are far larger than those observed among the Jewish communities. The study also found that "the differences between the Jewish communities can be overlooked when non-Jews are included in the comparisons." It supported previous interpretations that, in the direct maternal line, there was "little or no gene flow from the local non-Jewish communities in Poland and Russia to the Jewish communities in these countries."[65]

    Considering Ashkenazi Jews, Atzmon (citing Behar above) states that beyond four founder mitochondrial haplogroups of possible Middle Eastern origins which comprise approximately 40% of Ashkenazi Jewish mtDNA, the remainder of the mtDNA falls into other haplogroups, many of European origin. He noted that beyond Ashkenazi Jews, "Evidence for founder females of Middle Eastern origin has been observed in other Jewish populations based on non-overlapping mitochondrial haplotypes with coalescence times >2000 years"[20] These studies were considered limited by their small sample size.

    A 2013 study at the University of Huddersfield, led by Professor Martin B. Richards, concluded that 65%-81% of Ashkenazi Mt-DNA is European in origin, including all four founding mothers, and that most of the remaining lineages are also European. The results were published in Nature Communications in October 2013. The team analyzed about 2,500 complete and 28,000 partial Mt-DNA genomes of mostly non-Jews, and 836 partial Mt-DNA genomes of Ashkenazi Jews. The study claims that only 8% of Ashkenazi Mt-DNA could be identified as Middle Eastern in origin, with the origin of the rest being unclear.[61]

    They wrote:

    If we allow for the possibility that K1a9 and N1b2 might have a Near Eastern source, then we can estimate the overall fraction of European maternal ancestry at ~65%. Given the strength of the case for even these founders having a European source, however, our best estimate is to assign ~81% of Ashkenazi lineages to a European source, ~8% to the Near East and ~1% further to the east in Asia, with ~10% remaining ambiguous... Thus at least two-thirds and most likely more than four-fifths of Ashkenazi maternal lineages have a European ancestry.[66]

    Regarding the origin of Ashkenazi admixture, the analyses suggest that "the first major wave of assimilation probably took place in Mediterranean Europe, most likely in Southern Europe, with substantial further assimilation of minor founders in west/central Europe."[66] According to Richards, who acknowledged past research showing that Ashkenazi Jews' paternal origins are largely from the Middle East, the most likeliest explanation is that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Middle Eastern men who moved to Europe, and married local women who they converted to Judaism. The authors found "less evidence for assimilation in Eastern Europe, and almost none for a source in the North Caucasus/Chuvashia, as would be predicted by the Khazar hypothesis."[66]

    The study was criticized by geneticist Doron Behar, who stated that while the Mt-DNA of Ashkenazi Jews is of mixed Middle Eastern and European origins, the deepest maternal roots of Ashkenazi Jews are not European. Harry Ostrer said Richards' study seemed reasonable, and corresponded to the known facts of Jewish history. Karl Skorecki of the Rambam Health Care Campus stated that there were serious flaws of phylogenetic analysis.[67] Both Behar and Skorecki claim that the Mt-DNA used in the study did not represent the full spectrum of mitochondrial diversity. Eran Elhaik, a geneticist at the University of Sheffield[9], argues that the evidence ruled out a Near Eastern origin for many Ashkenazi mitochondrial lineages but he challenged the conclusion that a Khazarian contribution is absent.

    David B. Goldstein, the Duke University geneticist who first found similarities between the founding mothers of Ashkenazi Jewry and European populations, said that, although Richards' analysis was well-done and 'could be right,'[67] the estimate that 80% of Ashkenazi Jewish Mt-DNA is European was not statistically justified given the random rise and fall of mitochondrial DNA lineages. Geneticist Antonio Torroni of the University of Pavia found the conclusions very convincing, adding that recent studies of cell nucleus DNA also show “a very close similarity between Ashkenazi Jews and Italians".[66][68][69] In addition, this data was consistent with historians who have suggested that "many women converted to Judaism across Mediterranean Europe during the so-called Hellenistic period between about 300 B.C.E. and 30 B.C.E."[68] Diaspora communities were established in Rome and in Southern Europe centuries before the fall of the Second Temple in 70 CE.[61]

    A 2014 study by Fernandez et al. have found that Ashkenazi Jews display a frequency of haplogroup K which suggests an ancient Near Eastern origin, stating that this observation clearly contradicts the results of the study led by Richards which suggested a predominantly European origin for the Ashkenazi communities maternal line. However, the authors also state that definitively answering the question of whether this group was of Jewish origin rather than the result of a Neolithic migration to Europe would require the genotyping of the complete mtDNA in ancient Near Eastern populations.[62] On the study by Richards:

    According to that work the majority of the Ashkenazi mtDNA lineages can be assigned to three major founders within haplogroup K (31% of their total lineages): K1a1b1a, K1a9 and K2a2. The absence of characteristic mutations within the control region in the PPNB K-haplotypes allow discarding them as members of either sub-clades K1a1b1a or K2a2, both representing a 79% of total Ashkenazi K lineages. However, without a high-resolution typing of the mtDNA coding region it cannot be excluded that the PPNB K lineages belong to the third sub-cluster K1a9 (20% of Askhenazi K lineages). Moreover, in the light of the evidence presented here of a loss of lineages in the Near East since Neolithic times, the absence of Ashkenazi mtDNA founder clades in the Near East should not be taken as a definitive argument for its absence in the past. The genotyping of the complete mtDNA in ancient Near Eastern populations would be required to fully answer this question and it will undoubtedly add resolution to the patterns detected in modern populations in this and other studies.

    Mt-DNA of Jews from North Africa[edit]

    Analysis of mitochondrial DNA of the Jewish populations of North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Libya) was the subject of further detailed study in 2008 by Doron Behar et al.[18] The analysis concludes that Jews from this region do not share the haplogroups of the mitochondrial DNA haplogroups (M1 and U6) that are typical of the North African Berber and Arab populations. Similarly, while the frequency of haplogroups L, associated with sub-Saharan Africa, are present in approximately 20–25% at the Berber populations studied, these haplogroups are only present in 1.3%, 2.7% and 3.6% respectively of Jews from Morocco, Tunisia and Libya.[18]

    Behar et al. conclude that it is unlikely that North African Jews have significant Arab, or Berber admixture, "consistent with social restrictions imposed by religious restrictions," orendogamy. This study also found genetic similarities between the Ashkenazi and North African Jews of European mitochondrial DNA pools, but differences between both of these of the diaspora and Jews from the Middle East.[70]

    Mt-DNA of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula[edit]

    The data (mt-DNA) recovered by D. Behar et al. were from a community descended from crypto-Jews located in the village of Belmonte in Portugal. Because of the small size of the sample and the circumstances of the community having been isolated for so long, It is not possible to generalize the findings to the entire Iberian Peninsula.

    Mt-DNA of Jews from Iraq[edit]

    According to the 2008 study by Behar, 43% of Iraqi Jews are descended from five women.[18]

    Mt-DNA of Jews from Libya[edit]

    According to Behar, 39.8% of the mtDNA of Libyan Jews "could be related to one woman carrying the X2e1a1a lineage".[18]

    Mt-DNA of Jews from Tunisia[edit]

    Behar's study found that 43% of Tunisian Jews are descended from four women along their maternal lines.[70]

    Mt-DNA of Jews from Ethiopia[edit]

    The results are similar to those of the male population, namely, genetic characteristics identical to those of surrounding populations.[60]

    Mt-DNA of the Jews of Turkey[edit]

    Mt-DNA of the Jews of Turkey and does not include to a large extent mt-DNA lineages typical of West Asia,.[18] An Iberian-type lineage has been documented, which is consistent with historical data, i.e., the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula and their resettlement in Ottoman lands .[Note 9]

    Mt-DNA of the Jews of Georgia[edit]

    According to the study of G. Thomas et al., 51% of Georgian Jews are descended from a single female.[60] According to Behar, 58% are descended from this female ancestor.[18]Researchers have not determined the origin of this ancestor, but it is known that this woman carried a diverse haplotype, which is found throughout a large area stretching from the Mediterranean to Iraq and which includes the Caucasus.[71]

    Mt-DNA of the Mountain Jews[edit]

    According to [72] AJHG and Israeli-Canadian research, the Mountain Jews community shows a striking maternal founding event, with 58.6% of their total mtDNA genetic variation tracing back to only one woman from the Levant.

    Mt-DNA of Jews from Yemen[edit]

    In a study by Richards et al., the authors suggest that a minor proportion of haplogroup L1 and L3A lineage from sub-Saharan Africa is present among Jews from Yemen. However, these lines occur 4 times less frequently than among non-Jewish Yemenis.[73] These sub-Saharan haplogroups are virtually absent among Jews from Iraq, Iran and Georgia and do not appear among Ashkenazi Jews.[73]

    The Jewish population of Yemen also reveals a founder effect: 42% of the direct maternal lines are traceable to five women, four coming from western Asia, and one from East Africa.[18]

    Mt-DNA of Bukharan and Persian Jews[edit]

    Genetic studies show that Persian and Bukharan Jews descend from a small number of female ancestors.[71]

    Mt-DNA of Moroccan Jews[edit]

    Genetic research shows that about 27% of Moroccan Jews descend from one female ancestor.[71]

    Mt-DNA of Indian Jews[edit]

    According to the study of 2008 b D. Behar et al., the maternal lineage of some Jews of India has a local origin for the vast majority of the community. The maternal gene pool also includes some minor maternal lineage originating in the area of Iraq/Iran or Italy.[18] Genetic research shows that 41.3% of Bene Israel descend from one female ancestor, who was of indigenous Indian origin.[71] Cochin Jews also have genetic similarities with other Jewish populations, in particular with Yemenite Jews, along with the indigenous populations of India.[74]

    Autosomal DNA[edit]

    These studies focus upon autosomal chromosomes, the 22 homologous or autosomes (non sex chromosomes), rather than on the direct paternal or maternal lines. The technology has changed rapidly and so older studies are different in quality to newer ones.

    An initial study[75] conducted in 2001 by N. Rosenberg et al. on six Jewish populations (Poland, Libya, Ethiopia, Iraq, Morocco, Yemen) and two non-Jewish populations (Palestinians and Druze) showed that while the eight groups are close, the Jews of Libya have a distinct genetic signature related to their genetic isolation and a possible combination with Berber populations.[Note 10] This same study suggested a close relationship between Jews of Yemen and those of Ethiopia.

    A 2006 study by Seldin et al. used over five thousand autosomal SNPs to demonstrate European genetic substructure. The results showed "a consistent and reproducible distinction between 'northern' and 'southern' European population groups". Most northern, central, and eastern Europeans (Finns, Swedes, English, Irish, Germans, and Ukrainians) showed >90% in the 'northern' population group, while most individual participants with southern European ancestry (Italians, Greeks, Portuguese, Spaniards) showed >85% in the 'southern' group. Both Ashkenazi Jews as well as Sephardic Jews showed >85% membership in the "southern" group. Referring to the Jews clustering with southern Europeans, the authors state the results were "consistent with a later Mediterranean origin of these ethnic groups".[76]

    A 2007 study by Bauchet et al. found that Ashkenazi Jews were most closely clustered with Arabic North African populations when compared to the global population of that study. In the European structure analysis, they share genetic similarities with Greeks and Sicilians, reflecting their east Mediterranean origins.[77]

    A 2008 study by Price et al. sampled Southern Italians, Jews and other Europeans, and isolated the genetic markers that are most accurate for distinguishing between European groups, achieving results comparable to those from genome-wide analyses. It mines much larger datasets (more markers and more samples) to identify a panel of 300 highly ancestry-informative markers which accurately distinguish not just northwest and southeast European, but also Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry from Southern Europeans.[78]

    A 2008 study by Tian et al. provides an additional example of the same clustering pattern, using samples and markers similar to those in their other study. European population genetic substructure was examined in a diverse set of >1,000 individuals of European descent, each genotyped with >300 K SNPs. Both STRUCTURE and principal component analyses (PCA) showed the largest division/principal component (PC) differentiated northern from southern European ancestry. A second PC further separated Italian, Spanish, and Greek individuals from those of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry as well as distinguishing among northern European populations. In separate analyses of northern European participants other substructure relationships were discerned showing a west to east gradient.[79]

    A 2009 study by Goldstein et a. shows that it is possible to predict full Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity, although it should be noted that the exact dividing line between a Jewish and non-Jewish cluster will vary across sample sets which in practice would reduce the accuracy of the prediction. While the full historical demographic explanations for this distinction remain to be resolved, it is clear that the genomes of individuals with full Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry carry an unambiguous signature of their Jewish heritage, and this seems more likely to be due to their specific Middle Eastern ancestry than to inbreeding. The authors note that there is almost perfect separation along PC 1, and, they note that most of the gentile whites who are closest to the Jews on this PC are of Italian or Eastern Mediterranean origin.[80]

    In a 2009 study by Kopelman et al., four Jewish groups, Ashkenazi, Turkish, Moroccan and Tunisian, were found to share a common origin from the Middle East, with more recent admixture that has resulted in "intermediate placement of the Jewish populations compared to European and Middle Eastern populations". The authors found that the "most similar to the Jewish populations is the Palestinian population". The Tunisian Jews were found to be distinct from three other Jewish populations, which suggests, according to the authors, a greater genetic isolation and/or a significant local Berber ancestry, as in the case of Libyan Jews. Concerning the theory of Khazar ancestry in Ashkenazi, the authors found no direct evidence. On the one hand they detected a genetic similarity between Jewish populations in the study, especially Ashkenazi, and the Adyghe people (a group from the Caucasus, whose region was formerly occupied by the Khazars). On the other hand, the Adyghe, living on the edge of geographical Europe, are more genetically related to Middle Easterners than other Europeans, including Palestinians, Bedouin, and non-Ashkenazi Jews.[21][81]

    Another study of L. Hao et al. (October 2009)[20] studied seven groups of Jewish populations with different geographic origin (Ashkenazi, Italians, Greeks, Turks, Iranians, Iraqis and Syrians) and showed that the individuals all shared a Middle Eastern background in common, although they were also genetically distinguishable from each other. In public comments,Harry Ostrer, the director of the Human Genetics Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, and one of the authors of this study, concluded, "We have shown that Jewishness can be identified through genetic analysis, so the notion of a Jewish people is plausible."[82]

    A genome-wide genetic study carried out by Need et al. and published in 2009 showed that "individuals with full Jewish ancestry formed a clearly distinct cluster from those individuals with no Jewish ancestry." The study found that the Jewish cluster examined, fell between that of Middle Eastern and European populations. Reflecting on these findings, the authors concluded, "It is clear that the genomes of individuals with full Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry carry an unambiguous signature of their Jewish heritage, and this seems more likely to be due to their specific Middle Eastern ancestry than to inbreeding."[83]

    The current study extends the analysis of European population genetic structure to include additional southern European groups and Arab populations. While the Ashkenazi are clearly of southern origin based on both PCA and STRUCTURE studies, in this analysis of diverse European populations, this group appears to have a unique genotypic pattern that may not reflect geographic origins.[84]

    In June 2010, Behar et al. "shows that most Jewish samples form a remarkably tight subcluster with common genetic origin, that overlies Druze and Cypriot samples but not samples from other Levantine populations or paired Diaspora host populations. In contrast, Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) and Indian Jews (Bene Israel and Cochini) cluster with neighboringautochthonous populations in Ethiopia and western India, respectively, despite a clear paternal link between the Bene Israel and the Levant.".[2][9] "The most parsimonious explanation for these observations is a common genetic origin, which is consistent with an historical formulation of the Jewish people as descending from ancient Hebrew and Israelite residents of the Levant."[2] The authors say that the genetic results are concordant "with the dispersion of the people of ancient Israel throughout the Old World".[2] Regarding the samples he used, Behar says, "Our conclusion favoring common ancestry (of Jewish people) over recent admixture is further supported by the fact that our sample contains individuals that are known not to be admixed in the most recent one or two generations."[2]

    A study led by Harry Ostrer published on June 11, 2010, found close links between Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jews, and found them to be genetically distinct from non-Jews. In the study, DNA from the blood of 237 Jews and about 2,800 non-Jews was analyzed, and it was determined how closely related they were through IBD. Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jews were found to share many genetic features with each other, and were found to be closely related enough to the point being roughly fourth or fifth cousins. The study did find that all three Jewish groups did show signs of admixture with non Jews, with the genetic profiles of Ashkenazi Jew indicating between 30% and 60% admixture with Europeans, although they clustered more closely with Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews. All three groups were found to have common roots that were estimated to go back more than 2,000 years.[86] In July 2010, Bray et al., using SNP microarray techniques and linkage analysis,[87] "confirms that there is a closer relationship between the Ashkenazim and several European populations (Tuscans, Italians, and French) than between the Ashkenazim and Middle Eastern populations," and that European "admixture is considerably higher than previous estimates by studies that used the Y chromosome." They add their study data "support the model of a Middle Eastern origin of the Ashkenazim population followed by subsequent admixture with host Europeans or populations more similar to Europeans," and that their data imply that modern Ashkenazi Jews are perhaps more similar to Europeans than modern Middle Easterners. The level of admixture with European population was estimated between 35 and 55%. The study assumed Druze and Palestinian Arabs populations to represent the reference to world Jewry ancestor genome. With this reference point, the linkage disequilibrium in the Ashkenazi Jewish population was interpreted as "matches signs of interbreeding or 'admixture' between Middle Eastern and European populations". Also, in their press release, Bray stated: "We were surprised to find evidence that Ashkenazi Jews have higher heterozygosity than Europeans, contradicting the widely-held presumption that they have been a largely isolated group". The authors said that their calculations might have "overestimated the level of admixture" in case that the true Jewish ancestors were genetically closer to Southern Europeans than to Druze and Palestinian Arabs. They predict that using the non-Ashkenazi Jewish Diaspora populations as reference for a world Jewry ancestor genome would "underestimate the level of admixture" but that "however, using the Jewish Diaspora populations as the reference Jewish ancestor will naturally underestimate the true level of admixture, as the modern Jewish Diaspora has also undergone admixture since their dispersion.[88][89]

    Zoossmann-Diskin (2010) argues, that based upon the analysis of X chromosome and seventeen autosomal markers, Eastern European Jewish populations and Jewish populations from Iran, Iraq and Yemen, do not have the same genetic origins. In particular, concerning Eastern European Jews, he believes the evidence points to a dominant amount of southern European, and specifically Italian, ancestry, which he argues is probably a result of conversions during the Roman empire. Concerning the similarity between Sephardi and Ashkenazi, he argues that the reasons are uncertain, but that it is likely to be caused by Sephardic Jews having "Mediterranean" ancestry also, like the Ashkenazi. Concerning mitochondrial DNA, and particularly Y DNA, he accepts that there are superficial signs of some Middle Eastern ancestry among Ashkenazi Jews, but he argues that this can be ignored as it is may have come from a small number of ancestors.[90]

    An autosomal DNA study carried out in 2010 by Atzmon et al. examined the origin of Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Turkish, Greek, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi Jewish communities. The study compared these Jewish groups with 1043 unrelated individuals from 52 world-wide populations. To further examine the relationship between Jewish communities and European populations, 2407 European subjects were assigned and divided into 10 groups based on geographic region of their origin. This study confirmed previous findings of shared Middle Eastern origin of the above Jewish groups and found that "the genetic connections between the Jewish populations became evident from the frequent IBD across these Jewish groups (63% of all shared segments). Jewish populations shared more and longer segments with one another than with non-Jewish populations, highlighting the commonality of Jewish origin. Among pairs of populations ordered by total sharing, 12 out of the top 20 were pairs of Jewish populations, and "none of the top 30 paired a Jewish population with a non-Jewish one". Atzmon concludes that "Each Jewish group demonstrated Middle Eastern ancestry and variable admixture from host population, while the split between Middle Eastern and European/Syrian Jews, calculated by simulation and comparison of length distributions of IBD segments, occurred 100–150 generations ago, which was described as "compatible with a historical divide that is reported to have occurred more than 2500 years ago" as the Jewish community in Iraq and Iran were formed by Jews in the Babylonian and Persian empires during and after Babylonian exile. The main difference between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi/Sephardic Jews was the absence of Southern European components in the former. According to these results, European/Syrian Jewish populations, including the Ashkenazi Jewish community, were formed latter, as a result of the expulsion of Jews from Palestine, during Roman rule. Concerning Ashkenazi Jews, this study found that genetic dates "are incompatible with theories that Ashkenazi Jews are for the most part the direct lineal descendants of converted Khazars or Slavs". Citing Behar, Atzmon states that "Evidence for founder females of Middle Eastern origin has been observed in all Jewish populations based on non overlapping mitochondrial haplotypes with coalescence times >2000 years". The closest people related to Jewish groups were the Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze, Greeks, and Italians. Regarding this relationship, the authors conclude that "These observations are supported by the significant overlap of Y chromosomal haplogroups between Israeli and Palestinian Arabs with Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jewish populations".[1][20][21][91][92]

    In 2011, Moorjani et al.[93] detected 3%–5% sub-Saharan African ancestry in all eight of the diverse Jewish populations (Ashkenazi Jews, Syrian Jews, Iranian Jews, Iraqi Jews, Greek Jews, Turkish Jews, Italian Jews) that they analyzed. The timing of this African admixture among all Jewish populations was identical The exact date was not determined, but it was estimated to have taken place between 1,600–3,400 years ago. Although African admixture was determined among South Europeans and Near Eastern population too, this admixture was found to be younger compared to the Jewish populations. This findings the authors explained as evidence regarding common origin of these 8 main Jewish groups. "It is intriguing that the Mizrahi Irani and Iraqi Jews—who are thought to descend at least in part from Jews who were exiled to Babylon about 2,600 years ago share the signal of African admixture. A parsimonious explanation for these observations is that they reflect a history in which many of the Jewish groups descend from a common ancestral population which was itself admixed with Africans, prior to the beginning of the Jewish diaspora that occurred in 8th to 6th century BC" the authors concludes.[21][94]

    In 2012, two major genetic studies were carried out under the leadership of Harry Ostrer, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The results were published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences. The genes of 509 Jewish donors from 15 different backgrounds and 114 non-Jewish donors of North African origin were analyzed. Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jews were found to be closer genetically to each other than to their long-term host populations, and all of them were found to have Middle Eastern ancestry, together with varying amounts of admixture in their local populations. Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews were found to have diverged from each other approximately 2,500 years in the past, approximately the time of the Babylonian exile. The studies also reconfirmed the results of previous studies which found that North African Jews were more closely related to each other and to European and Middle Eastern Jews than to their non-Jewish host populations. The Moroccan/Algerian, Djerban/Tunisian and Libyan subgroups of North African Jewry were found to demonstrate varying levels of Middle Eastern (40-42%), European (37-39%) and North African ancestry (20-21%),[95] with Moroccan and Algerian Jews tending to be genetically closer to Europeans than Djerban Jews. The study found that Yemenite, Ethiopian, and Georgian Jews formed their own distinctive, genetically linked clusters. In particular,Yemenite Jews, who had been previously been believed to have lived in isolation, were found to have genetic connections to their host population, suggesting some conversion of local Arabs to Judaism had taken place. The also study found that Syrian Jews share more genetic commonality with Ashkenazi Jews than with other Middle Eastern Jewish populations.[96][97][98][99] According to the study:

    "distinctive North African Jewish population clusters with proximity to other Jewish populations and variable degrees of Middle Eastern, European, and North African admixture. Two major subgroups were identified by principal component, neighbor joining tree, and identity-by-descent analysis—Moroccan/Algerian and Djerban/Libyan—that varied in their degree of European admixture. These populations showed a high degree of endogamy and were part of a larger Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish group. By principal component analysis, these North African groups were orthogonal to contemporary populations from North and South Morocco, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Thus, this study is compatible with the history of North African Jews—founding during Classical Antiquity with proselytism of local populations, followed by genetic isolation with the rise of Christianity and then Islam, and admixture following the emigration of Sephardic Jews during the Inquisition." [100]

    A 2012 study on Ethiopian Jews showed that while they are primarily related to the local populations, Ethiopian Jews have very distant genetic links to the Middle East from some 2,000 years ago, and are likely descended from a few Jewish founders. It was speculated that the community began when a few itinerant Jews settled in Ethiopia in ancient times, converted locals to Judaism, and married into the local populations.[26]

    A 2012 study by Eran Elhaik[101] analyzed data collected for previous studies and concluded that the DNA of Eastern and Central European Jewish populations indicates that their ancestry is "a mosaic of Caucasus, European, and Semitic ancestries". For the study, Bedouins and Jordanian Hashemites, known to descend from Arabian tribes, were assumed to be a valid genetic surrogate of ancient Jews, whereas the Druze, known to come from Syria, were assumed to be non-Semitic immigrants into the Levant. Armenians and Georgians were also used as surrogate populations for the Khazars, who spoke a Turkic language unrelated to Georgian or Armenian. On this basis, a relatively strong connection to the Caucasus was proposed because of the stronger genetic similarity of these Jewish groups to modern Armenians, Georgians, Azerbaijani Jews, Druze and Cypriots, compared to a weaker genetic similarity with Hashemites and Bedouins. This proposed Caucasian component of ancestry was in turn taken to be consistent with the Khazarian Hypothesis as an explanation of part of the ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews.

    A study by Haber et al. (2013) noted that while previous studies of the Levant, which had focused mainly on diaspora Jewish populations, showed that the "Jews form a distinctive cluster in the Middle East", these studies did not make clear "whether the factors driving this structure would also involve other groups in the Levant". The authors found strong evidence that modern Levant populations descend from two major apparent ancestral populations. One set of genetic characteristics which is shared with modern-day Europeans and Central Asians is most prominent in the Levant amongst "Lebanese, Armenians, Cypriots, Druze and Jews, as well as Turks, Iranians and Caucasian populations". The second set of inherited genetic characteristics is shared with populations in other parts of the Middle East as well as some African populations. Levant populations in this category today include "Palestinians, Jordanians, Syrians, as well as North Africans, Ethiopians, Saudis, and Bedouins". Concerning this second component of ancestry, the authors remark that while it correlates with "the pattern of the Islamic expansion", and that "a pre-Islamic expansion Levant was more genetically similar to Europeans than to Middle Easterners," they also say that "its presence in Lebanese Christians, Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews, Cypriots and Armenians might suggest that its spread to the Levant could also represent an earlier event". The authors also found a strong correlation between religion and apparent ancestry in the Levant:

    "all Jews (Sephardi and Ashkenazi) cluster in one branch; Druze from Mount Lebanon and Druze from Mount Carmel are depicted on a private branch; and Lebanese Christians form a private branch with the Christian populations of Armenia and Cyprus placing the Lebanese Muslims as an outer group. The predominantly Muslim populations of Syrians, Palestinians and Jordanians cluster on branches with other Muslim populations as distant as Morocco and Yemen."[102]

    A 2013 study by Doron M. Behar, Mait Metspalu, Yael Baran, Naama M. Kopelman, Bayazit Yunusbayev et al. using integration of genotypes on newly collected largest data set available to date (1,774 samples from 106 Jewish and non-Jewish populations) for assessment of Ashkenazi Jewish genetic origins from the regions of potential Ashkenazi ancestry:(Europe, the Middle East, and the region historically associated with the Khazar Khaganate) concluded that "This most comprehensive study... does not change and in fact reinforces the conclusions of multiple past studies, including ours and those of other groups (Atzmon and others, 2010; Bauchet and others, 2007; Behar and others, 2010; Campbell and others, 2012; Guha and others, 2012; Haber and others; 2013; Henn and others, 2012; Kopelman and others, 2009; Seldin and others, 2006; Tian and others, 2008). We confirm the notion that the Ashkenazi, North African, and Sephardi Jews share substantial genetic ancestry and that they derive it from Middle Eastern and European populations, with no indication of a detectable Khazar contribution to their genetic origins."

    The authors also reanalyzed the 2012 study of Eran Elhaik, and found that "The provocative assumption that Armenians and Georgians could serve as appropriate proxies for Khazar descendants is problematic for a number of reasons as the evidence for ancestry among Caucasus populations do not reflect Khazar ancestry". Also, the authors found that "Even if it were allowed that Caucasus affinities could represent Khazar ancestry, the use of the Armenians and Georgians as Khazar proxies is particularly poor, as they represent the southern part of the Caucasus region, while the Khazar Khaganate was centered in the North Caucasus and further to the north. Furthermore, among populations of the Caucasus, Armenians and Georgians are geographically the closest to the Middle East, and are therefore expected a priori to show the greatest genetic similarity to Middle Eastern populations." Concerning the similarity of South Caucasus populations to Middle Eastern groups which was observed at the level of the whole genome in one recent study (Yunusbayev and others, 2012). The authors found that "Any genetic similarity between Ashkenazi Jews and Armenians and Georgians might merely reflect a common shared Middle Eastern ancestry component, actually providing further support to a Middle Eastern origin of Ashkenazi Jews, rather than a hint for a Khazar origin". The authors claimed "If one accepts the premise that similarity to Armenians and Georgians represents Khazar ancestry for Ashkenazi Jews, then by extension one must also claim that Middle Eastern Jews and many Mediterranean European and Middle Eastern populations are also Khazar descendants. This claim is clearly not valid, as the differences among the various Jewish and non-Jewish populations of Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East predate the period of the Khazars by thousands of years".[13][103]

    A 2014 study by Paull et al. analyzed autosomal SNP data from FTDNA’s Family Finder test for 100 study participants, divided into Jewish, non-Jewish, and interfaith study groups. It reported autosomal DNA test values, such as the size and number of shared DNA segments, the number of genetic matches, and the distribution of predicted relationships, varies between study groups. The study also investigates how shared autosomal DNA, and longest block values vary by strength-of-relationship for each study group. According to the results "The 40 participants in the Jewish study group were found to match an average of 24.8 or 62.0 % of the other Jewish study participants, while the 40 participants in the non-Jewish study group matched an average of 4.0 or 9.9 % of the other non-Jewish study participants. Hence, Jewish study participants had over 6 times more matches with each other than did non-Jewish study participants. With the exception of a single study participant, there were no matches between the Jewish and non-Jewish study groups." the authors found.[104][105]

    A 2014 study by Carmi et al. published by Nature Communications found that the Ashkenazi Jewish population originates from a mixing between Middle Eastern and European peoples, with a slight majority being Middle Eastern. According to the authors, that mixing likely occurred some 600–800 years ago, followed by rapid growth and genetic isolation (rate per generation 16–53%;). The study found that all Ashkenazi Jews descent from around 350 individuals, about half of whom were Middle Eastern and half were European, and that all Ashkenazi Jews are related to the point of being no more than 30th cousins.[106] The principal component analysis of common variants in the sequenced AJ samples, confirmed previous observations, namely, the proximity of Ashkenazi Jewish cluster to other Jewish, European and Middle Eastern populations.[107][108]

    A 2016 study by Elhaik et al. in the Oxford University Press published journal Genome Biology and Evolution found that the DNA of Ashkenazi Jews originated in northeasternTurkey.[109] The study found 90% of Ashkenazi Jews could be traced to four ancient villages in northeastern Turkey. The researchers speculated that the Ashkenazi Jews originated in the first millennium, when Iranian Jews converted Greco-Roman, Turkish, Iranian, southern Caucasian, and Slavic populations inhabiting Turkey, and speculated that the Yiddish language also originated there among Jewish merchants as a cryptic language in order to gain advantage in trade along the Silk Road.[110][111]

    Comparison with the genetic heritage of non-Jewish populations[edit]


    Further information: Druze § Genetics, Palestinian people § DNA and genetic studies, and Lebanese people § Genetics

    Many genetic studies have demonstrated that most of the various Jewish ethnic divisions and Druze, Palestinians,[2][20][21][44] Bedouin,[20][21] Lebanese and other Levantines cluster near one another genetically. One study found that Jews and Palestinians are closer to each other than the Palestinians or European Jews are to non-Jewish Europeans or Africans.[20][21][112][112] They also found substantial genetic overlap between Israeli and Palestinian Arabs and Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. A small but statistically significant difference was found in the Y-chromosomal haplogroup distributions of Sephardic Jews and Palestinians, but no significant differences were found between Ashkenazi Jews and Palestinians nor between the two Jewish communities, However, a highly distinct cluster was found in Palestinian haplotypes. 32% of the 143 Arab Y-chromosomes studied belonged to this "I&P Arab clade", which contained only one non-Arab chromosome, that of a Sephardic Jew. This could possibly be attributed to the geographical isolation of the Jews or to the immigration of Arab tribes in the first millennium.[112] The Druze people, a "genetic sanctuary" for the diversity of the Near East in antiquity,[113] have been found in genetic studies to be the closest to Jews of the populations in the Levant.[114] Lebanese also cluster closely with Jewish ethnic groups, closer than Syrians and Palestinians, according to a 2010 study by Behar et al.[2] The single archeogenetic study of the southern Levant (Salamon et al, 2010) explored mtDNA haplogroups of Chalcolithic period from a cave in the Judean Desert. The prevailing mtDNA haplogroups were those in U3a, H and H6 haplogroup. "U3 is quite frequent in contemporary mtDNA from Near Eastern and Levantine samples suggesting some temporal continuity in mtDNA haplogroups from as far back as the Chalcolithic Era (circa 4500-4000 BCE). In addition, the authors found that the U3a and H6 haplotypes from the ancient DNA samples were present in a broad range of contemporary Jewish populations".[115][116]

    The Samaritans[edit]

    Further information: Samaritans

    The Samaritans are an ancient northern population of historic Israel, where they are historically well identified since at least the 4th century BC. They define themselves as the descendants of tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (two tribes from the Tribe of Joseph) living in the Kingdom of Israel before its destruction in 722 BC. For them, the Jews are the descendants of the Israelites from ancient southern kingdom of Judah (and Jerusalem).

    A 2004 study by Shen et al. compared the Y-DNA and DNA-mt Samaritans of 12 men with those of 158 men who were not Samaritans, divided between 6 Jewish populations (Ashkenazi origin, Moroccan, Libyan, Ethiopian, Iraqi and Yemeni) and 2 non-Jewish populations from Israel (Druze and Arab). The study concludes that significant similarities exist between paternal lines of Jews and Samaritans, but the maternal lines differ between the two populations. The pair-wise genetic distances (Fst) between 11 populations from AMOVA applied to the Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial data. For the Y-chromosome, all Jewish groups, except for the Ethiopians, are closely related to each other. They do not differ significantly from Samaritans (0.041) and Druze (0.033), but are different from Palestinians (0.163), Africans (0.219), and Europeans (0.111). This study indicated that the Samaritan and Jewish Y-chromosomes have a much greater affinity for the other than for their geographical neighbors, the Palestinians. This suggests the two share a common ancestral Near Eastern population preceding their divergence in the 4th century BCE, supporting the Samaritan narrative of descent from native Israelites who survived the Assyrian exile rather than from foreign populations introduced by the Assyrian Empire.[44] However, the mtDNA results did not match other Jewish populations at all, supporting the Jewish narrative of the Assyrians displacing the population of the northern Israelite Kingdom. From these results the researchers concluded that the Samaritans are descended from Hebrew men and non-Hebrew women, confirming elements of both the Jewish and Samaritan narratives.[117]

    The Lembas[edit]

    The Lemba clans are scattered among the Bantu-speaking tribes in Zimbabwe and northern South Africa. Their oral tradition traces the origin of the Jewish Lembas to Sana'a in Yemen. Some practices seem reminiscent of Jewish practices (e.g. circumcision, food laws). Two studies have attempted to determine the paternal origin of these tribes. The first by A. Spurdle and T. Jenkins[118] dates from 1996 and suggests that more than half of Lembas tested are of Semitic origin.[Note 11] The second study by Mark G. Thomas et al.[119] dates from 2000 and also suggests that part of Lembas have a Semitic origin that can come from a mixture of Arabs and Jews.[Note 12] In addition, the authors show that clans Lemba (Buba clan) has a large proportion of the former CMH.

    Recent research published in the South African Medical Journal studied Y-Chromosomes variations in two groups of Lemba, one South African and the other Zimbabwean (the Remba). It concluded that "While it was not possible to trace unequivocally the origins of the non-African Y chromosomes in the Lemba and Remba, this study does not support the earlier claims of their Jewish genetic heritage." The researcher suggested "a stronger link with Middle Eastern populations, probably the result of trade activity in the Indian Ocean."[120]

    Inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula[edit]

    According to a 2008 study by Adams[121] the inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula have an average of 20% of Sephardi Jewish ancestry with significant geographical variations ranging from 0% on Minorca to 36.3% in southern Portugal (the term Sephardi is used here in its strict sense to mean the Jews settled in the Iberian peninsula before the expulsions in and after 1492). Part of this admixture might also, according to the authors, be of Neolithic origin.

    Karaite Jews[edit]

    The Haplogroups are of African ancestry, European ancestry, and Middle Eastern(Egypt) ancestry.[122][123]


    "JEWS  A  RACE" - GENETIC  THEORY  COMES  UNDER  FIERCE  ATTACK  BY  DNA  EXPERT...... May 7, 2013....Rita Rubin

    Scientists usually don’t call each other “liars” and “frauds.”

    But that’s how Johns Hopkins University post-doctoral researcher Eran Elhaik describes a group of widely respected geneticists, including Harry Ostrer, professor of pathology and genetics at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and author of the 2012 book “Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People.”

    For years now, the findings of Ostrer and several other scientists have stood virtually unchallenged on the genetics of Jews and the story they tell of the common Middle East origins shared by many Jewish populations worldwide. Jews — and Ashkenazim in particular — are indeed one people, Ostrer’s research finds.

    It’s a theory that more or less affirms the understanding that many Jews themselves hold of who they are in the world: a people who, though scattered, share an ethnic-racial bond rooted in their common ancestral descent from the indigenous Jews of ancient Judea or Palestine, as the Romans called it after they conquered the Jewish homeland.

    But now, Elhaik, an Israeli molecular geneticist, has published research that he says debunks this claim. And that has set off a predictable clash.

    “He’s just wrong,” said Marcus Feldman of Stanford University, a leading researcher in Jewish genetics, referring to Elhaik.

    The sometimes strong emotions generated by this scientific dispute stem from a politically loaded question that scientists and others have pondered for decades: Where in the world did Ashkenazi Jews come from?

    The debate touches upon such sensitive issues as whether the Jewish people is a race or a religion, and whether Jews or Palestinians are descended from the original inhabitants of what is now the State of Israel.

    Ostrer’s theory is sometimes marshaled to lend the authority of science to the Zionist narrative, which views the migration of modern-day Jews to what is now Israel, and their rule over that land, as a simple act of repossession by the descendants of the land’s original residents. Ostrer declined to be interviewed for this story. But in his writings, Ostrer points out the dangers of such reductionism; some of the same genetic markers common among Jews, he finds, can be found in Palestinians, as well.

    By using sophisticated molecular tools, Feldman, Ostrer and most other scientists in the field have found that Jews are genetically homogeneous. No matter where they live, these scientists say, Jews are genetically more similar to each other than to their non-Jewish neighbors, and they have a shared Middle Eastern ancestry.

    The geneticists’ research backs up what is known as the Rhineland Hypothesis. According to the hypothesis, Ashkenazi Jews descended from Jews who fled Palestine after the Muslim conquest in the seventh century and settled in Southern Europe. In the late Middle Ages they moved into eastern Europe from Germany, or the Rhineland.

    “Nonsense,” said Elhaik, a 33-year-old Israeli Jew from Beersheba who earned a doctorate in molecular evolution from the University of Houston. The son of an Italian man and Iranian woman who met in Israel, Elhaik, a dark-haired, compact man, sat down recently for an interview in his bare, narrow cubicle of an office at Hopkins, where he’s worked for four years.

    In “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses,” published in December in the online journal Genome Biology and Evolution, Elhaik says he has proved that Ashkenazi Jews’ roots lie in the Caucasus — a region at the border of Europe and Asia that lies between the Black and Caspian seas — not in the Middle East. They are descendants, he argues, of the Khazars, a Turkic people who lived in one of the largest medieval states in Eurasia and then migrated to Eastern Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries. Ashkenazi genes, Elhaik added, are far more heterogeneous than Ostrer and other proponents of the Rhineland Hypothesis believe. Elhaik did find a Middle Eastern genetic marker in DNA from Jews, but, he says, it could be from Iran, not ancient Judea.

    Elhaik writes that the Khazars converted to Judaism in the eighth century, although many historians believe that only royalty and some members of the aristocracy converted. But widespread conversion by the Khazars is the only way to explain the ballooning of the European Jewish population to 8 million at the beginning of the 20th century from its tiny base in the Middle Ages, Elhaik says.

    Elhaik bases his conclusion on an analysis of genetic data published by a team of researchers led by Doron Behar, a population geneticist and senior physician at Israel’s Rambam Medical Center, in Haifa. Using the same data, Behar’s team published in 2010 a paper concluding that most contemporary Jews around the world and some non-Jewish populations from the Levant, or Eastern Mediterranean, are closely related.

    Elhaik used some of the same statistical tests as Behar and others, but he chose different comparisons. Elhaik compared “genetic signatures” found in Jewish populations with those of modern-day Armenians and Georgians, which he uses as a stand-in for the long-extinct Khazarians because they live in the same area as the medieval state.

    “It’s an unrealistic premise,” said University of Arizona geneticist Michael Hammer, one of Behar’s co-authors, of Elhaik’s paper. Hammer notes that Armenians have Middle Eastern roots, which, he says, is why they appeared to be genetically related to Ashkenazi Jews in Elhaik’s study.

    Hammer, who also co-wrote the first paper that showed modern-day Kohanim are descended from a single male ancestor, calls Elhaik and other Khazarian Hypothesis proponents “outlier folks… who have a minority view that’s not supported scientifically. I think the arguments they make are pretty weak and stretching what we know.”

    Feldman, director of Stanford’s Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies, echoes Hammer. “If you take all of the careful genetic population analysis that has been done over the last 15 years… there’s no doubt about the common Middle Eastern origin,” he said. He added that Elhaik’s paper “is sort of a one-off.”

    Elhaik’s statistical analysis would not pass muster with most contemporary scholars, Feldman said: “He appears to be applying the statistics in a way that gives him different results from what everybody else has obtained from essentially similar data.”

    Elhaik, who doesn’t believe that Moses, Aaron or the 12 Tribes of Israel ever existed, shrugs off such criticism.

    “That’s a circular argument,” he said of the notion that Jews’ and Armenians’ genetic similarities stem from common ancestors in the Middle East and not from Khazaria, the area where the Armenians live. If you believe that, he says, then other non-Jewish populations, such as Georgian, that are genetically similar to Armenians should be considered genetically related to Jews, too, “and so on and so forth.”

    Dan Graur, Elhaik’s doctoral supervisor at U.H. and a member of the editorial board of the journal that published his paper, calls his former student “very ambitious, very independent. That’s what I like.” Graur, a Romanian-born Jew who served on the faculty of Tel Aviv University for 22 years before moving 10 years ago to the Houston school, said Elhaik “writes more provocatively than may be needed, but it’s his style.” Graur calls Elhaik’s conclusion that Ashkenazi Jews originated to the east of Germany “a very honest estimate.”

    In a news article that accompanied Elhaik’s journal paper, Shlomo Sand, history professor at Tel Aviv University and author of the controversial 2009 book “The Invention of the Jewish People,” said the study vindicated his long-held ideas.

    ”It’s so obvious for me,” Sand told the journal. “Some people, historians and even scientists, turn a blind eye to the truth. Once, to say Jews were a race was anti-Semitic, now to say they’re not a race is anti-Semitic. It’s crazy how history plays with us.”

    The paper has received little coverage in mainstream American media, but it has attracted the attention of anti-Zionists and “anti-Semitic white supremacists,” Elhaik said.

    Interestingly, while anti-Zionist bloggers have applauded Elhaik’s work, saying it proves that contemporary Jews have no legitimate claim to Israel, some white supremacists have attacked it.

    David Duke, for example, is disturbed by the assertion that Jews are not a race. “The disruptive and conflict-ridden behavior which has marked out Jewish Supremacist activities through the millennia strongly suggests that Jews have remained more or less genetically uniform and have… developed a group evolutionary survival strategy based on a common biological unity — something which strongly militates against the Khazar theory,” wrote the former Ku Klux Klansman and former Louisiana state assemblyman on his blog in February.

    “I’m not communicating with them,” Elhaik said of the white supremacists. He says it also bothers him, a veteran of seven years in the Israeli army, that anti-Zionists have capitalized on his research; not least because “they’re not going to be proven wrong anytime soon.”

    But proponents of the Rhineland Hypothesis also have a political agenda, he said, claiming they “were motivated to justify the Zionist narrative.”

    To illustrate his point, Elhaik swivels his chair around to face his computer and calls up a 2010 email exchange with Ostrer.

    “It was a great pleasure reading your group’s recent paper, ‘Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era,’ that illuminate[s] the history of our people,” Elhaik wrote to Ostrer. “Is it possible to see the data used for the study?”

    Ostrer replied that the data are not publicly available. “It is possible to collaborate with the team by writing a brief proposal that outlines what you plan to do,” he wrote. “Criteria for reviewing include novelty and strength of the proposal, non-overlap with current or planned activities, and non-defamatory nature toward the Jewish people.” That last requirement, Elhaik argues, reveals the bias of Ostrer and his collaborators.

    Allowing scientists access to data only if their research will not defame Jews is “peculiar,” said Catherine DeAngelis, who edited the Journal of the American Medical Association for a decade. “What he does is set himself up for criticism: Wait a minute. What’s this guy trying to hide?”

    Despite what his critics claim, Elhaik says, he was not out to prove that contemporary Jews have no connection to the Jewish people of the Bible. His primary research focus is the genetics of mental illness, which, he explains, led him to question the assumption that Ashkenazi Jews are a useful population to study because they’re so homogeneous.

    Elhaik says he first read about the Khazarian Hypothesis a decade ago in a 1976 book by the late Hungarian-British author Arthur Koestler, “The Thirteenth Tribe,” written before scientists had the tools to compare genomes. Koestler, who was Jewish by birth, said his aim in writing the book was to eliminate the racist underpinnings of anti-Semitism in Europe. “Should this theory be confirmed, the term ‘anti-Semitism’ would become void of meaning,” the book jacket reads. Although Koestler’s book was generally well reviewed, some skeptics questioned the author’s grasp of the history of Khazaria.

    Graur is not surprised that Elhaik has stood up against the “clique” of scientists who believe that Jews are genetically homogeneous. “He enjoys being combative,” Graur said. “That’s what science is.”





    FROM  WIKIPEDIA        

    Biblical Israelites

    Model of the Mishkan constructed under the auspices of Moses, in Timna Park, Israel

    The Israelite story begins with some of the culture heroes of the Jewish people, the Patriarchs. The Torah traces the Israelites to the patriarchJacob, grandson of Abraham, who was renamed Israel after a mysterious incident in which he wrestles all night with God or an angel. Jacob's twelve sons (in order of birth), Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin, become the ancestors of twelve tribes, with the exception of Joseph, whose two sons Mannasseh and Ephraim, who were adopted by Jacob, become tribal eponyms (Genesis 48).[45]

    The mothers of Jacob's sons are: