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Jews Around the World Linked by Common Genetic Ancestry
Date:6/3/2010

Traits date back several millennia and may help trace inherited links to many diseases, researchers say

THURSDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- A new and complex genetic analysis has revealed that Jews all over the world are related by virtue of uniquely shared genetic traits dating back several millennia.

Down the line, the finding has the potential to aid in broader investigations on the genetic origins of disease, according to researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and New York University School of Medicine.

"This study provides new genomic information that can benefit not only those of Jewish ancestry, but the population at large," co-author Dr. Edward Burns, executive dean and professor of pathology and medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said in a news release. "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."

Burns and his colleagues present these observations in the June 3 online issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

To explore the subject, the authors recruited 237 patients from Jewish communities in New York, Seattle, Athens, Rome and Israel. The participants were carefully selected to represent all three groups of the "Jewish Diasporas," the historical migration of Jews throughout Europe and the Middle East. These groups included Eastern European Ashkenazim; Italian, Greek, and Turkish Sephardim; and Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian Mizrahim Jews.

To ensure proper representation, Burns and his team only included individuals whose four grandparents all came from the same Jewish community. In turn, the genetic analysis of the Jewish participants was compared with that of 418 non-Jewish men and women, also drawn from communities around the world.

The authors found that not only
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