Skip to comments.Study finds genetic links among Jewish people
Posted on 06/03/2010 12:09:49 PM PDT by decimon
Results could shed light on origins of various diseases
June 3, 2010 (BRONX, NY) Using sophisticated genetic analysis, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and New York University School of Medicine have published a study indicating that Jews are a widely dispersed people with a common ancestry. Jews from different regions of the world were found to share many genetic traits that are distinct from other groups and that date back to ancient times.
The study also provides the first detailed genetic maps of the major Jewish subpopulations, a resource that can be used to study the genetic origins of disease. The findings appear in the June 3 online issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.
"This study provides new genomic information that can benefit not only those of Jewish ancestry, but the population at large," said co-author Edward Burns, M.D., executive dean and professor of pathology and of medicine at Einstein. "By providing a comprehensive genetic fingerprint of various Jewish subpopulations, it can help us understand genetic links to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other common diseases."
To better understand the ways in which current Jewish groups are related, Dr. Burns and his colleagues, including principal investigator Harry Ostrer, M.D., professor of pediatrics, pathology and medicine at NYU, performed a genome-wide analysis of the three major groups formed by the Diasporas (the scattering of Jews into Europe, and throughout the Middle East): Eastern European Ashkenazim; Italian, Greek, and Turkish Sephardim; and Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian Mizrahim Jews.
A total of 237 participants were recruited from Jewish communities in the metropolitan New York region, Seattle, Athens, Rome and Israel. Subjects were included only if all four grandparents came from the same Jewish community. The results were compared with a genetic analysis of 418 people from non-Jewish groups around the world.
The researchers found that Jews from the major Diaspora groups formed a distinct population cluster, albeit one that is closely related to European and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations. Each of the Diaspora groups also formed its own cluster within the larger Jewish cluster. Further, each group demonstrated Middle-Eastern ancestry and varying degrees of mixing with surrounding populations. The genetic analysis showed that the two major groups, Middle Eastern Jews and European Jews, diverged from each other approximately 2,500 years ago.
"The study supports the idea of a Jewish people linked by a shared genetic history," said Dr. Ostrer of NYU. "Yet the admixture with European people explains why so many European and Syrian Jews have blue eyes and blond hair."
"The goal of the study was to determine a genomic baseline," said lead author Gil Atzmon, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and of genetics at Einstein. "With this established, we'll be able to more easily identify genes associated with complex disorders like diabetes that are determined by multiple variants across the genome. Armed with this information, we will be better positioned to treat patients."
Other investigators who participated in the study include Bernice Morrow, Ph.D., at Einstein; and Eitan Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., at Tel-Aviv University; Li Hao, Christopher Velez, Alexander Pearlman, Ph.D., and Carole Oddoux, Ph.D., at NYU; and Itsik Pe'er, Ph.D., and Pier Francesco Palamara at Columbia University.
The study, "Abraham's Children in the Genome Era: Major Jewish Diaspora Populations Comprise Distinct Genetic Clusters with Shared Middle Eastern Ancestry," was supported by the Lewis and Rachel Rudin Foundation, the Iranian-American Jewish Foundation, the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation and private donors.
About Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2009-2010 academic year, Einstein is home to 2,775 faculty members, 722 M.D. students, 243 Ph.D. students, 128 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and approximately 350 postdoctoral research fellows. In 2009, Einstein received more than $155 million in support from the NIH. This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Through its extensive affiliation network involving five medical centers in the Bronx, Manhattan and Long Island which includes Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for Einstein the College of Medicine runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering approximately 150 residency programs to more than 2,500 physicians in training. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu
Sorta junks the old “Khazar” theory, eh?
They found my family history by following back the evolution of whiskey.
Reading an interesting book now on this pub. 2008
“Jacob’s Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish History”
by David B. Goldstein
So did they find Abraham’s bones?
Let me guess the “traced” it back to Noah and Shem.
What’s so surprising? Isn’t Judaism primarily spread via heredity? In other words, a largely non-proselytising faith.
My relatives on dad’s side traced themselves back to Welshmen who painted their faces blue and howled at the moon.
If only ALL faiths can be like this. If you look at the history of "holy wars" they have usually been driven by faiths that proselytize (and I am including communism as a faith here).
The masons stole those.
Wonder how close to Abraham they would be related?
I am told that on one side my ancestry comes from Scotland and along the way a 'full blood' Cherokee woman, but because she was NOT registered on the registry there is NO paper document she was Cherokee.
On the other side my great grandfather stowed away on a ship from Germany in the late 1800's, and I have NO clue if the name he is noted as having is the one he left Germany carrying. There has been no grave site found for him since his death. And I am not sure what bunch he married into once he got here, but I am thinking English.
Now unless Abraham's bones have been discovered I don't see how anybody can claim a lineage to him.
That wish is tantamount to wishing Christianity away. Sure you don't mean that. All of Western civilization which we take for granted today--inalienable rights, equality between men and women, international law, Europe and the west not being islamic--is because of the Christian faith. A great hope in China is the country is being Christianized. Christians are the main force preventing Islam from taking over even more of Africa.
Christians are not about to give up a central tenet of their faith anymore than Jews are. Aside from that, Christianity does not teach conversion by the sword. Not sure to which "holy wars" you refer. The Crusades were defensive, launched centuries after Muslims had raided Rome and sacked the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul. The European wars of religion in the 16th and 17th century were political events created by the rise of the all powerful state as much as religious and spawned by the break-up of the medieval order (in which their was a balance of power between and among crowns, nobles, the church, merchants and peasants). You will find the "religious wars" were a mixed bag too. Sunni Muslims from Poland fought on the side of Catholics at the gates of Vienna while Protestants from Transylvania were on the side of the Ottoman Turks. Jews allied themselves, at times, with Muslims against the Christian Spanish crown during the Reconquista.
Few people know the history of Islamic invasion of what is now France by the Al-Andulus Muslims in the eighth century. The Franks, led by Charles Martel, defeated the Muslim army at the Battle of Tours in 735 a.d. and spent the next decade pushing them back over the Pyrenees Mountains into what is now Spain. Charles ‘The Hammer’ Martel was the grandfather of Charlemagne.
“genetic links among Jewish people...”? Well duh. If genetic links weren’t there, then that might be newsworthy.
I’m not sure. If the divergence between Middle Eastern and European Jews occurred about 2,500 years ago, then it would seem arguable that the European Jews are descended from the 10 tribes that were carried off by the Assyrians and allegedly scattered into the Caucasus and parts of Central Asia. In any event, it is all interesting.
A priest carries a replica of the biblical lost Ark of the Covenant in Axum, Ethiopia
Some of them were absorbed into Israel (i.e. the Gibeonites, Nethinim, etc). A lot of them were wiped out (though that probably wasn't God's real intention for them...) Depending on some things I read, some of them may have gotten out of Dodge and eventually migrated as far eastward as China.
Even less known is the Muslim attack on Rome in 846 AD and the Sea Battle of Ostia off the port of Rome several years later. Those who wish Christians would stop obeying a central tenent of their faith, to evangelize, should get down on their knees and give a prayer of thanksgiving they are not compelled to face Mecca and pray five times a day.
I would tend to suspect that to be the case. The Khazar story, on the other hand, says that the Khazars - a Turkish group - adopted Judaism wholesale in the 8th or 9th century, so as to establish their independence from both the Christian Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Caliphate. This much is the case, if I'm recalling my history correctly. However, what is usually added to this is the largely unsubstantiated belief that the Khazars themselves (instead of examples of Jews deported to Assyria) became the European Jews. Usually, the context I've seen this in is as part of an effort to deny to the Ashkenazi (and Sephardic) Jews any lineage from Israel, the idea being that today's Jews are "usurpers" who are really just Turkish Khazars.
It is simply amazing how useful these techniques are to establishing common ancestry and tracking and predicting different genetic diseases and susceptibilities.
Nope, the 10 tribes are still lost. All of today's Jews are descendants of the Southern Kingdom (Judea).
It was almost exactly 2500 years ago that the Kingdom of Judea was conquered by the Babylonians and all of its inhabitants exiled to Babylon. About 70 years later, the Persians conquered Babylon and permitted the Jews to return to Judea, but most did not.
Today's Ashkenazic Jews are descended from those who returned to Judea; when Judea rebelled against Rome in 70 C.E. and again in 135 C.E., the Judeans were taken to Rome as slaves. Their descendants were permitted to move from Italy to Germany by Charlemagne, and from there they spread to Poland, Russia and eventually to the United States.
Meanwhile, the Jews who did not return to Judea stayed in Babylon (today's Iraq) until it was conquered by the Moslems; they then moved throughout the Moslem world (the Middle East, North Africa and Spain). Their descendants became the Sephardim (Jews exiled from Spain in 1492) and the Mizrachim (Jews who remained in Middle Eastern countries until the Arabs expelled them in 1948).
The Kingdom of Khazaria officially adopted Judaism as the state religion, for the reasons you state, but because this was done for political, not religious, reasons, the bulk of the common people never became Jewish and the rest of the Khazars didn't stay Jewish very long. You are right that the claim that today's Jews are descendants of Khazars is spouted chiefly by those trying to deny the legitimacy of Zionism. Genetic studies like those in the posted article debunk that theory.
Yes, I know about the Babylonian exile, but it is probably the case that the dating on this sort of research has at least a 10% to 20% margin of error. In that case, perhaps the traditional story about the Ashkenazic Jews isn’t entirely right. Perhaps the Ashkenazic Jews are descended from both. In any event, there is nothing obvious that would distinguish genetically the part of the Jewish population carried off by the Babylonians from those that weren’t carried off or that would distinguish those that eventually returned from those that didn’t. I realize that there is folklore on the point, but the Babylonians probably just carried off those that they could seize and who were physically fit.
Alternatively, I suppose that the divergence 2,500 years ago could reflect the fact that Ashkenazic Jews are genetically part Babylonian. In any event, as I said, it is all interesting.
I think it's also almost certainly true that many Israelites of the Northern Kingdom escaped the Assyrian conquest and settled in Judea, so that, by the time of the Babylonian Exile, the "Judeans" already included many of the formerly-Northern Kingdom members of the other tribes.
Well put! The Roman Empire forbade the Jews from trying to convert people, probably because the Jewish population of the empire was pretty large at the time, and of course, the Roman Wars (more often called the Jewish Wars, after the book by Josephus) in Judea, which culminated in the Romans’ destruction of the Temple and most of the city of Jerusalem (even its name was changed), led to some animosity toward Judaism. Also, the mincing homosexual Emperor Hadrian didn’t like circumcision.
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Through the mother. Mitachondrial DNA. We would look back to Sarah, not Abraham. Because of ishmael.
Hebrews are matrilineal. Interestingly, the only other culture on earth that does this are the Indigenous Great Nations of North America.
The Ashkenazi Jews are the ones with the highest IQ in the world.
They represent 80% of the Jewish immigrants to the US.
“It’s yet another (and somewhat cryptic) form of anti-Semitism.”
While the theory may or may not be wrong, the prime exponent in recent memory was Arthur Koestler. I don’t think that there is any anti-semitism involved even if it is wrong (and I hold no position about the theory, but did think Koestler’s book was interesting). Do the Anglo-Israel people use this as part of their claim that the original inhabitants of Britain(or some group of inhabitants of early Britain) were Hebrew? BTW, regarding your point about the lost tribes ending up on the fringes of the Assyrian Empire, the 10th or 11th Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (about 1910), I believe, had some interesting material chronicling Jewish traditions in at least one Afgan tribe.
That said, I can think of a few 2 small population of Turkic Jews with little Israelite heritage: the Karaylar (Tatar Karaites) and the all but extinct Krimchaks (Rabbinic-Jewish Tatars). Although they speak a Kipchak dialect instead of a Oghur dialect like Khazar or Bulghar, the Karaylar claim to be descended from Karaites and they used to live in areas of major Khazar settlement. I don't have reason to dispute their claims.
Jews did it once and only once as far as I know. The Hasmonian King John Hyrcanus (Yohanan Girhan) concquered and forceably converted the Idumeans (Edomites). The grandson of one the converts was the Edomite-Nabatean Roman-imposed ruler, Herod.
Have you checked census records?
Koestler, wasn’t the book called “The Thirteenth Tribe”? But yeah, it’s mysterious to me that there are people out there who want to lift the heritage of (for example) the Jews or ancient Hebrews. Here in Michigan there was a wacky cult which called itself the Black Hebrew Israelite Jews. :’)
The Jacobovici documentary also had an Assyriologist who talked about a then-recent discovery of some cuneiform records in a post-exilic context, an Assyrian trading post in n Syria or SE Turkey I think, and among the names were transliterated names including a version of “Hezekiah”. Of course, that doesn’t mitigate in favor of an exile closer to the homeland, because even then people got around; there is a school of thought that Abraham came from that very area.
The evidence for Crimean exile is circumstantial (Assyrian artifacts found, correct era) and literary.
There’s a tantalizing reference in Herodotus about how in the city of Colchis circumcision was practiced, and to his knowledge (as he says) that practice was only known (to Herodotus) from Egypt.
it’s an amazing likeness, too... ;’)
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