Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ashkenazi and Syrian Jews

Hannukah celebration at the Academy of Music in New York City, 16 December 1880

Happy Hannukah!

Some may be wondering about several missing Jewish populations in the Middle Eastern Admixture post I put up yesterday. I will confess that I didn't plot the Eurogenes K10 Syrian and Ashkenazi Jewish results because they lay off the axis of the other Fertile Crescent results.  For the same reason, I removed Cypriots from the "Fertile Crescent 3" plot.  Cypriots, Syrian Jews and Ashkenazi Jews have an elevated Southern European component that pulls these populations westward into the Mediterranean.

As I began this study, although I knew about the history of  Sephardic Jews of Salonika, I was unaware that many Jews also took refuge in Syria after the 1492 Spanish Inquisition.  However, as I was looking at the Eurogenes result, it was obvious to me that Syrian Jews had an elevated level of European ancestry compared to other Mizrahi Jews.  As I checked Syrian Jewish history, I realized that the origin of their elevated Southern and Northern European components was from Sephardic Jews who had fled the Inquisition.  That certainly speaks to the power of genomics to tell you about a historical event. 

Ashkenazi Jews also have some European ancestry.  You can see that in the yellow (Northern European) and sky blue (Southern European) components, plotted below, that appear at elevated levels compared to other Mizrahi Jews.

The populations are:  Georgians, Armenians, Azerbeijani Jews, Georgian Jews, Assyrians, Iraqi Jews, Druze, Cypriots, Ashkenazi Jews, Syrian Jews and Samaritans.

Here, I don't specifically plot a Sephardic population in this graph.  That data wasn't available in the Eurogenes K10 run.  However, the Behar et al paper indicates that Sephardic Jews are very similar to Ashkenazi Jews.  When this data becomes available, I will post it.

The Fertile Crescent signature is plainly observable with Ashkenazi and Syrian Jewish populations, but there is also evidence of a long presence in Europe.

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