Skip to comments.Genetic evidence links Jews to their ancient tribe
Posted on 11/19/2001 3:41:35 PM PST by Sabramerican
Genetic evidence links Jews to their ancient tribe
By Judy Siegel
JERUSALEM (November 20) - Genetic evidence continues to provide additional proof to the claims that the Jewish people are descended from a common ancient Israelite father: Despite being separated for over 1,000 years, Sephardi Jews of North African origin are genetically indistinguishable from their brethren from Iraq, according to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
They also proved that Sephardi Jews are very close genetically to the Jews of Kurdistan, and only slight differences exist between these two groups and Ashkenazi Jews from Europe.
These conclusions are reached in an article published recently in the American Journal of Human Genetics and written by Prof. Ariella Oppenheim of the Hebrew University (HU) and Hadassah-University Hospital in Ein Kerem.
Others involved are German doctoral student Almut Nebel, Dr. Marina Faerman of HU, Dr. Dvora Filon of Hadassah-University Hospital, and other colleagues from Germany and India.
The researchers conducted blood tests of Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Kurdish Jews and examined their Y chromosomes, which are carried only by males. They then compared them with those of various Arab groups - Palestinians, Beduins, Jordanians, Syrians and Lebanese - as well as to non-Arab populations from Transcaucasia - Turks, Armenians and Moslem Kurds.
The study is based on 526 Y chromosomes typed by the Israeli team and additional data on 1,321 individuals from 12 populations. The typing of the Jewish groups was performed at the National Genome Center at HU's Silberman Institute of Life Sciences.
The Fertile Crescent of the Middle East was one of the few centers in which the transition from hunting-gathering to permanent settlement and agriculture took place. Genetic studies suggest that migrating Neolithic farmers dispersed their technological innovations and domesticated animals from the Middle East towards Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia.
Studies of Y chromosomes have become powerful tools for the investigation of the genetic history of males, since these chromosomes are transmitted from fathers to sons.
Surprisingly, the study shows a closer genetic affinity by Jews to the non-Jewish, non-Arab populations in the northern part of the Middle East than to Arabs. These findings are consistent with known cultural links that existed among populations in the Fertile Crescent in early history, and indicate that the Jews are direct descendants of the early Middle Eastern core populations, which later divided into distinct ethnic groups speaking different languages.
Previous investigations by the HU researchers suggested a common origin for Jewish and non-Jewish populations living in the Middle East. The current study refines and delineates that connection.
It is believed that the majority of today's Jews - not including converts and non-Jews with whom Jews intermarried - descended from the ancient Israelis that lived in the historic Land of Israel until the destruction of the Second Temple and their dispersal into the Diaspora.
The researchers say that a genetic analysis of the chromosomes of Jews from various countries show that there was practically no genetic intermixing between them and the host populations among which they were scattered during their dispersion - whether in Eastern Europe, Spain, Portugal or North Africa.
A particularly intriguing case illustrating this is that of the Kurdish Jews, said to be the descendants of the Ten Tribes of Israel who were exiled in 723 BCE. to the area known today as Kurdistan, located in Northern Iraq, Iran and Eastern Turkey. They continued to live there as a separate entity until their immigration to Israel in the 1950s. The Kurdish Jews of today show a much greater affinity to their fellow Jews elsewhere than to the Kurdish Moslems.
There are more children in America under the age of 11 with one Jewish parent and one gentile parent than there are children under the age of 11 in America with two Jewish parents. So...I'm not sure for how much longer this particular statement will be valid.
His name wouldn't happen to be Abraham, would it? He had two sons, Ishmael by Hagar, and Isaac by Sarah.
Firstly this study only deals with the Y-chromosome. This only affects the direct male line of ancestors. So racial mixing between Jews and Gentiles is not disproven by this in the least. It is possible for instance, that Jewish men moved to "Khazaria" and took "Khazar" women as wives and then rased their children as Jews.
For example, I bet that if someone did a Y-chromosme study of the mestizo population in Mexico the result would show that the mestizo Y-chromosome is very similar to the Y-chromosome of Spaniards. But this doesn't prove that Mexican mestizos are of the same race as the Spaniards and it most certainly couldn't be used to "prove" that the mestizos are actually racially "pure".
Secondly it doesn't give the statistics of relative purity with the Y-chromosome. Surely the purity is not 100%. So we can only conclude that the Jewish groups studied are genetically related in their male lineage. But we cannot conclude that they have a 100% pure male lineage. We cannot conclude that there was no mixing in the male lineage. And most certainly this isn't proof that Jews have not mixed with non-Jews.
The fact that mixing and conversions happened is self-evident just from looking at the lighter Ashkenazi Jews and then looking at some of the black African Jews.
Figures that a German is investigating Jewish genetics.
Those of us who remain Jews are direct descendants. Some, it may surprise you, have the genealogy record going back thousands of years.
LOL. Guess you thought that out very clearly except for the fact that Judaism is only from the mother.
Judaism may officially go through the female line. But the Y-chromosome goes through the male line. Thus if you want to use the Jewish matrilineal definition of Judaism a proper study should study the mitochondrial DNA, not the Y-chromosome. The mitochondrial DNA is passed through the female line only.
It is not a given. If you want me to take it as a given show me the scientific proof. I ask for science, not religious faith. It seems perfectly plausible to me that Jewish men might might have taken Gentile wives, the wives may then have converted and raised their children as Jews. Culture is usually passed more through the male line than through the female line.
Reading is fundamental
There is not a claim that there is no mixture. However, the claimed mixtures for Ashkenazi Jews for example is much smaller then typically has been suggested. Note the following from the National Acad. of Sciences:
* Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolution, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721; ¶ Department of Genetics, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Pavia 27100, Italy; Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91120, Israel; ** Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, England; SAMIR, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa; Department of Pediatrics, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY 10016; and § Department of Human Genetics, Sackler School of Medicine, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel
Subjects and Methods
Haplotypes constructed from Y-chromosome markers were used to trace the paternal origins of the Jewish Diaspora. A set of 18 biallelic polymorphisms was genotyped in 1,371 males from 29 populations, including 7 Jewish (Ashkenazi, Roman, North African, Kurdish, Near Eastern, Yemenite, and Ethiopian) and 16 non-Jewish groups from similar geographic locations. The Jewish populations were characterized by a diverse set of 13 haplotypes that were also present in non-Jewish populations from Africa, Asia, and Europe. A series of analyses was performed to address whether modern Jewish Y-chromosome diversity derives mainly from a common Middle Eastern source population or from admixture with neighboring non-Jewish populations during and after the Diaspora. Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level. Admixture estimates suggested low levels of European Y-chromosome gene flow into Ashkenazi and Roman Jewish communities. A multidimensional scaling plot placed six of the seven Jewish populations in a relatively tight cluster that was interspersed with Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations, including Palestinians and Syrians. Pairwise differentiation tests further indicated that these Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations were not statistically different. The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora.
Subjects and Methods
Jewish religion and culture can be traced back to Semitic tribes that lived in the Middle East approximately 4,000 years ago. The Babylonian exile in 586 B.C. marked the beginning of major dispersals of Jewish populations from the Middle East and the development of various Jewish communities outside of present-day Israel (1). Today, Jews belong to several communities that can be classified according to the location where each community developed. Among others, these include the Middle Eastern communities of former Babylonia and Palestine, the Jewish communities of North Africa and the Mediterranean Basin, and Ashkenazi communities of central and eastern Europe. The history of the Jewish Diasporathe numerous migrations of Jewish populations and their subsequent residence in various countries in Europe, North Africa, and West Asiahas resulted in a complex set of genetic relationships among Jewish populations and their non-Jewish neighbors. Several studies have attempted to describe these genetic relationships and to unravel the numerous evolutionary factors that have come into play during the Diaspora (2-11). Some of the key arguments in the literature concern the relative contributions of common ancestry, genetic drift, natural selection, and admixture leading to the observed similarities and differences among Jewish and non-Jewish communities.
Given the complex history of migration, can Jews be traced to a single Middle Eastern ancestry, or are present-day Jewish communities more closely related to non-Jewish populations from the same geographic area? Some genetic studies suggest that Jewish populations show substantial non-Jewish admixture and the occurrence of mass conversion of non-Jews to Judaism (2, 3, 10, 12). In contrast, other research points to considerably greater genetic similarity among Jewish communities with only slight gene flow from their respective host populations (5, 7, 9, 11, 13). Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the degree of genetic similarity among Jewish communities and between Jewish and non-Jewish populations depends on the particular locus that is being investigated (4, 8, 11). This observation raises the possibility that variation associated with a given locus has been influenced by natural selection.
All of the aforementioned investigations used "classical" genetic markers such as blood groups, enzymes, and serum proteins, as well as immunoglobulins and the HLA system. More recently, restriction fragment length polymorphism studies were initiated by using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the nonrecombining portion of the Y chromosome (NRY), and other nuclear loci (14-20). An advantage of nucleotide-level studies is that they circumvent some of the complications associated with selection; however, these studies have not fully resolved many of the key issues in the earlier literature.
Analyses of mtDNA and the NRY are especially relevant to studies of Jewish origins because, according to ancient Jewish law, Jewish religious affiliation is assigned maternally (1). In particular, studies of paternally inherited variation provide the opportunity to assess the genetic contribution of non-Jewish males to present-day Jewish genetic diversity. This research represents one of the first comparisons of biallelic variation on the NRY in Jewish and non-Jewish populations from similar geographic areas. We surveyed 18 biallelic polymorphisms in 7 Jewish and 22 non-Jewish populations from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to assess the relative contributions of common ancestry, gene flow, and genetic drift in shaping patterns of NRY variation in populations of the Jewish Diaspora.