Article

The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses.

Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA, 21208.
Genome Biology and Evolution (Impact Factor: 4.53). 12/2012; DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evs119
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The question of Jewish ancestry has been the subject of controversy for over two centuries and has yet to be resolved. The "Rhineland Hypothesis" depicts Eastern European Jews as a "population isolate" that emerged from a small group of German Jews who migrated eastward and expanded rapidly. Alternatively, the "Khazarian Hypothesis" suggests that Eastern European Jew descended from the Khazars, an amalgam of Turkic clans that settled the Caucasus in the early centuries CE and converted to Judaism in the 8(th) century. Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman Jews continuously reinforced the Judaized Empire until the 13(th) century. Following the collapse of their empire, the Judeo-Khazars fled to Eastern Europe. The rise of European Jewry is therefore explained by the contribution of the Judeo-Khazars. Thus far, however, the Khazar's contribution has been estimated only empirically, as the absence of genome-wide data from Caucasus populations precluded testing the Khazarian Hypothesis. Recent sequencing of modern Caucasus populations prompted us to revisit the Khazarian Hypothesis and compare it with the Rhineland Hypothesis. We applied a wide range of population genetic analyses to compare these two hypotheses. Our findings support the Khazarian Hypothesis and portray the European Jewish genome as a mosaic of Caucasus, European, and Semitic ancestries, thereby consolidating previous contradictory reports of Jewish ancestry. We further describe major difference among Caucasus populations explained by early presence of Judeans in the Southern and Central Caucasus. Our results have important implications on the demographic forces that shaped the genetic diversity in the Caucasus and medical studies.

2 Followers
 · 
186 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Humans differentiate, classify, and discriminate: social interaction is a basic property of human Darwinian evolution. Presumably inherent differential physical as well as behavioral properties have always been criteria for identifying friend or foe. Yet, biological determinism is a relatively modern term, and scientific racism is, oddly enough, largely a consequence or a product of the Age of Enlightenment and the establishment of the notion of human equality. In recent decades ever-increasing efforts and ingenuity were invested in identifying Biblical Israelite genotypic common denominators by analysing an assortment of phenotypes, like facial patterns, blood types, diseases, DNA-sequences, and more. It becomes overwhelmingly clear that although Jews maintained detectable vertical genetic continuity along generations of socio-religious-cultural relationship, also intensive horizontal genetic relations were maintained both between Jewish communities and with the gentile surrounding. Thus, in spite of considerable consanguinity, there is no Jewish genotype to identify.
    Frontiers in Genetics 01/2014; 5:462. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2014.00462
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The first documents mentioning Jewish people in Iberia are from the Visigothic period. It was also in this period that the first documented anti-Judaic persecution took place. Other episodes of persecution would happen again and again during the long troubled history of the Jewish people in Iberia and culminated with the Decrees of Expulsion and the establishment of the Inquisition: some Jews converted to Catholicism while others resisted and were forcedly baptized, becoming the first Iberian Crypto-Jews. In the 18th century the official discrimination and persecution carried out by the Inquisition ended and several Jewish communities emerged in Portugal. From a populational genetics point of view, the worldwide Diaspora of contemporary Jewish communities has been intensely studied. Nevertheless, very little information is available concerning Sephardic and Iberian Crypto-Jewish descendants. Data from the Iberian Peninsula, the original geographic source of Sephardic Jews, is limited to two populations in Portugal, Belmonte, and Bragança district, and the Chueta community from Mallorca. Belmonte was the first Jewish community studied for uniparental markers. The construction of a reference model for the history of the Portuguese Jewish communities, in which the genetic and classical historical data interplay dynamically, is still ongoing. Recently an enlarged sample covering a wide region in the Northeast Portugal was undertaken, allowing the genetic profiling of male and female lineages. A Jewish specific shared female lineage (HV0b) was detected between the community of Belmonte and Bragança. In contrast to what was previously described as a hallmark of the Portuguese Jews, an unexpectedly high polymorphism of lineages was found in Bragança, showing a surprising resistance to the erosion of genetic diversity typical of small-sized isolate populations, as well as signs of admixture with the Portuguese host population.
    Frontiers in Genetics 01/2015; 6:12. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2015.00012
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We investigated ancestry of 3,528 modern humans from 163 samples. We identified 19 ancestral components, with 94.4% of individuals showing mixed ancestry. After using whole genome sequences to correct for ascertainment biases in genome-wide genotype data, we dated the oldest divergence event to 140,000 years ago. We detected an Out-of-Africa migration 100,000-87,000 years ago, leading to peoples of the Americas, east and north Asia, and Oceania, followed by another migration 61,000-44,000 years ago, leading to peoples of the Caucasus, Europe, the Middle East, and south Asia. We dated eight divergence events to 33,000-20,000 years ago, coincident with the Last Glacial Maximum. We refined understanding of the ancestry of several ethno-linguistic groups, including African Americans, Ethiopians, the Kalash, Latin Americans, Mozabites, Pygmies, and Uygurs, as well as the CEU sample. Ubiquity of mixed ancestry emphasizes the importance of accounting for ancestry in history, forensics, and health.
    Scientific Reports 10/2014; 4. DOI:10.1038/srep06055 · 5.08 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
20 Downloads
Available from
May 30, 2014