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Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish genomes reveals diversity, history
Date:8/26/2010

descendants' genomes are shuffled by recombination. Successive generations continue the shuffling process, so that the linkage between traits located near each other in the genome is gradually lost over time.

High linkage disequilibrium can come either from an isolated population (for example, an island whose residents are all descendents of shipwreck survivors) or the relatively recent mixture of separate populations. Bray and his colleagues did find evidence of elevated linkage disequilibrium in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, but were able to show that this matches signs of interbreeding or "admixture" between Middle Eastern and European populations.

The researchers were able to estimate that between 35 and 55 percent of the modern Ashkenazi genome comes from European descent.

"Our study represents the largest cohort of Ashkenazi Jews examined to date with such a high density of genetic markers, and our estimate of admixture is considerably higher than previous estimates that used the Y chromosome to calculate European admixture at between five and 23 percent," Bray says.

He adds that his group's analysis agrees with a recently published study from New York University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and supports estimates of a high level of European admixture, accounting for up to half of the genetic make-up of contemporary Ashkenazi.

The genomic analysis also provided information about selection pressures on mutations prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, such as those leading to conditions like Tay-Sachs disease or mutations in cancer susceptibility genes like BRCA1.

This line of research seeks the answer to the question: why doesn't a harmful mutation simply disappear from the population? A classic example of positive selection is sickle-cell anemia. Two copies of the mutation are required for the disease to occur, but when an individual has one copy of the mutation, it provides resistance ag
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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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