06-09-10, 11:04 PM
Genetic study sheds light on Jewish diaspora (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10276393.stm)
Scientists have shed light on Jewish history with an in-depth genetic study. The researchers analysed genetic samples from 14 Jewish communities across the world and compared them with those from 69 non-Jewish populations. Their study, published in Nature, revealed that most Jewish populations were "genetically closer" to each other than to their non-Jewish neighbours.
It also revealed genetic ties between globally dispersed Jews and non-Jewish populations in the Middle East. This fits with the idea that most contemporary Jews descended from ancient Hebrew and Israelite residents in the Middle Eastern region known as the Levant. It provides a trace of the Jewish diaspora.
Doron Behar from Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel, led an international team of scientists in the study. He described it as a form of "genetic archaeology". "It seems that most Jewish populations and therefore most Jewish individuals are closer to each other [at the genetic level], and closer to the Middle Eastern populations, than to their traditional host population in the diaspora," he explained.
There were exceptions to this key finding, though, as Dr Behar explained. He said that his research revealed that Ethiopian and Indian Jewish communities were genetically closer to their neighbouring non-Jewish populations.
And there you go.
06-15-10, 08:18 PM
Mod note: Off-topic and/or unscientific posts, and their associated replies, were moved here (http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=102334).
06-15-10, 08:26 PM
There have been two recent scientific research publications on the genetic relatedness of the Jewish diaspora:
Abraham's Children in the Genome Era: Major Jewish Diaspora Populations Comprise Distinct Genetic Clusters with Shared Middle Eastern Ancestry
Atzmon et al.
Am. J. Hum. Genet. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.04.015 (2010).
For more than a century, Jews and non-Jews alike have tried to define the relatedness of contemporary Jewish people. Previous genetic studies of blood group and serum markers suggested that Jewish groups had Middle Eastern origin with greater genetic similarity between paired Jewish populations. However, these and successor studies of monoallelic Y chromosomal and mitochondrial genetic markers did not resolve the issues of within and between-group Jewish genetic identity. Here, genome-wide analysis of seven Jewish groups (Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Italian, Turkish, Greek, and Ashkenazi) and comparison with non-Jewish groups demonstrated distinctive Jewish population clusters, each with shared Middle Eastern ancestry, proximity to contemporary Middle Eastern populations, and variable degrees of European and North African admixture. Two major groups were identified by principal component, phylogenetic, and identity by descent (IBD) analysis: Middle Eastern Jews and European/Syrian Jews. The IBD segment sharing and the proximity of European Jews to each other and to southern European populations suggested similar origins for European Jewry and refuted large-scale genetic contributions of Central and Eastern European and Slavic populations to the formation of Ashkenazi Jewry. Rapid decay of IBD in Ashkenazi Jewish genomes was consistent with a severe bottleneck followed by large expansion, such as occurred with the so-called demographic miracle of population expansion from 50,000 people at the beginning of the 15th century to 5,000,000 people at the beginning of the 19th century. Thus, this study demonstrates that European/Syrian and Middle Eastern Jews represent a series of geographical isolates or clusters woven together by shared IBD genetic threads.
The genome-wide structure of the Jewish people
Behar et al.
Nature advance online publication 9 June 2010 | doi:10.1038/nature09103; Received 9 December 2009; Accepted 21 April 2010; Published online 9 June 2010
Contemporary Jews comprise an aggregate of ethno-religious communities whose worldwide members identify with each other through various shared religious, historical and cultural traditions1, 2. Historical evidence suggests common origins in the Middle East, followed by migrations leading to the establishment of communities of Jews in Europe, Africa and Asia, in what is termed the Jewish Diaspora3, 4, 5. This complex demographic history imposes special challenges in attempting to address the genetic structure of the Jewish people6. Although many genetic studies have shed light on Jewish origins and on diseases prevalent among Jewish communities, including studies focusing on uniparentally and biparentally inherited markers7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, genome-wide patterns of variation across the vast geographic span of Jewish Diaspora communities and their respective neighbours have yet to be addressed. Here we use high-density bead arrays to genotype individuals from 14 Jewish Diaspora communities and compare these patterns of genome-wide diversity with those from 69 Old World non-Jewish populations, of which 25 have not previously been reported. These samples were carefully chosen to provide comprehensive comparisons between Jewish and non-Jewish populations in the Diaspora, as well as with non-Jewish populations from the Middle East and north Africa. Principal component and structure-like analyses identify previously unrecognized genetic substructure within the Middle East. Most Jewish samples form a remarkably tight subcluster 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 neighbouring autochthonous populations in Ethiopia and western India, respectively, despite a clear paternal link between the Bene Israel and the Levant. These results cast light on the variegated genetic architecture of the Middle East, and trace the origins of most Jewish Diaspora communities to the Levant.
Here are some scientific news coverage of these findings:
Nature news: Jews worldwide share genetic ties (http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100603/full/news.2010.277.html)
Nature blog: Genes link Jewish communities, take 2 (http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/06/genes_link_jewish_communities.html)