Thursday, January 22, 2009

Genetic substructure of Ashkenazim

More principal components results from the huge space of human genetic variation.







Figures from the paper below (additional labeling by Razib).

A genome-wide genetic signature of Jewish ancestry perfectly separates individuals with and without full Jewish ancestry in a large random sample of European Americans

Anna C Need, Dalia Kasperaviciute, Elizabeth T Cirulli and David B Goldstein

Genome Biology 2009, 10:R7doi:10.1186/gb-2009-10-1-r7

Conclusions: Here we show that within Americans of European ancestry there is a perfect genetic corollary of Jewish ancestry which, in pinciple, would permit near perfect genetic inference of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. In fact, even subjects with a single Jewish grandparent can be statistically distinguished from those without Jewish ancestry. We also found that subjects with Jewish ancestry were slightly more heterozygous than the subjects with no Jewish ancestry, suggesting that the genetic distinction between Jews and non-Jews may be more attributable to Near-Eastern origin for Jewish popuations than to population bottlenecks.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

A Bedouin Orcadian mix would pass for a Jew quite nicely.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone done a genetic study of Jews from places like China, such as Kaifeng?

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that one of the authors is a Jew considering how eager the chosen people have been to deny that they constitute a gentically distinct group.

Anonymous said...

The origins and motivations of the researchers are irrelevant so long as the results are sound.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in seeing a parallel analysis of Jewish groups: Ashkenazi vs. Sephardi vs. Halabi vs. Temani, for example. It would be very interesting to see how much commonality there is among them.

Antoine Zhang said...

"Has anyone done a genetic study of Jews from places like China, such as Kaifeng?"

Be kind of difficult now, given that they have almost all converted to Islam.

My understanding is that the Kaifeng Jews were originally descended from Persian immigrants.

Anonymous said...

reply to Antoine Zhang

What proportion of the Kaifeng jews just blended in with the majority Han population (ie. become invisible "crypto-jews")?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crypto-Judaism

Anonymous said...

A truely scientific means of quantifying "jewishness" from nothing more than a blood sample or oral swab. Hitler would have LOVED this.

Ben said...

"Anonymous said...
A truely scientific means of quantifying "jewishness" from nothing more than a blood sample or oral swab. Hitler would have LOVED this."

The Nazis also detected a link between smoking & cancer. Is that bad too?

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