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

did the Jewish group as a whole constitute a distinct population cluster, but that one by one each of the three Diaspora subgroups themselves also represented a distinct cluster within the larger Jewish group. They further noted that the two largest subgroups -- Middle Eastern Jews and European Jews -- were found to have split off from one another about 2,500 years back.

The team noted while the genetic pool of Jew is distinct, it is closely related to the non-Jewish populations of both Europe and the Middle East. In addition, each of the Jewish subgroups was linked to a Middle Eastern ancestry, and represented a degree of mixing with the non-Jewish population in which each group had lived.

"The study supports the idea of a Jewish people linked by a shared genetic history," Dr. Harry Ostrer, an NYU professor of pediatrics, pathology and medicine, stated in the news release. "Yet the [mixture] with European people explains why so many European and Syrian Jews have blue eyes and blond hair."

"The goal of the study was to determine a genomic baseline," lead author Gil Atzmon, an Einstein assistant professor of medicine and of genetics, said in the news release. "With this established, we'll be able to more easily identify genes associated with complex disorders like diabetes that are determined by multiple variants across the genome. Armed with this information, we will be better positioned to treat patients."

More information

For more on genetic mapping, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.



-- Alan Mozes



SOURCE: American Journal of Human Genetics, June 3, 2010, news release


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