Monday, February 25, 2013

Jews Have Genetic Closeness According to Recent Surveys by Genome-Wide Scanning Devices : Jewish Origins in the North Levant, the Home of Abraham

The genetic closeness of many Jews has been confirmed in two recent genetic surveys, as reported by Nicholas Wade of the New York Times in Studies Show Jews' Genetic Similarity.

As Wade writes:
"Jewish communities in Europe and the Middle East share many genes inherited from the ancestral Jewish population that lived in the Middle East some 3,000 years ago, even though each community also carries genes from other sources — usually the country in which it lives....

One of the surveys was conducted by Gil Atzmon of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Harry Ostrer of New York University and appears in the current American Journal of Human Genetics. The other, led by Doron M. Behar of the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa and Richard Villems of the University of Tartu in Estonia, is published in Thursday’s edition of Nature."
Read the whole article here.

The abstracts of the two scientific publications in question are given below:
  • Abraham's Children in the Genome Era: Major Jewish Diaspora Populations Comprise Distinct Genetic Clusters with Shared Middle Eastern Ancestry, by Gil Atzmon, Li Hao, Itsik Pe'er et al., The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 86, Issue 6, 850-859, 03 June 2010, doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.04.015


    For more than a century, Jews and non-Jews alike have tried to define the relatedness of contemporary Jewish people. Previous genetic studies of blood group and serum markers suggested that Jewish groups had Middle Eastern origin with greater genetic similarity between paired Jewish populations. However, these and successor studies of monoallelic Y chromosomal and mitochondrial genetic markers did not resolve the issues of within and between-group Jewish genetic identity. Here, genome-wide analysis of seven Jewish groups (Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Italian, Turkish, Greek, and Ashkenazi) and comparison with non-Jewish groups demonstrated distinctive Jewish population clusters, each with shared Middle Eastern ancestry, proximity to contemporary Middle Eastern populations, and variable degrees of European and North African admixture. Two major groups were identified by principal component, phylogenetic, and identity by descent (IBD) analysis: Middle Eastern Jews and European/Syrian Jews. The IBD segment sharing and the proximity of European Jews to each other and to southern European populations suggested similar origins for European Jewry and refuted large-scale genetic contributions of Central and Eastern European and Slavic populations to the formation of Ashkenazi Jewry. Rapid decay of IBD in Ashkenazi Jewish genomes was consistent with a severe bottleneck followed by large expansion, such as occurred with the so-called demographic miracle of population expansion from 50,000 people at the beginning of the 15th century to 5,000,000 people at the beginning of the 19th century. Thus, this study demonstrates that European/Syrian and Middle Eastern Jews represent a series of geographical isolates or clusters woven together by shared IBD genetic threads."
[The full text of the above article is available for free here - BRAVO!]
"Contemporary Jews comprise an aggregate of ethno-religious communities whose worldwide members identify with each other through various shared religious, historical and cultural traditions1, 2. Historical evidence suggests common origins in the Middle East, followed by migrations leading to the establishment of communities of Jews in Europe, Africa and Asia, in what is termed the Jewish Diaspora3, 4, 5. This complex demographic history imposes special challenges in attempting to address the genetic structure of the Jewish people6. Although many genetic studies have shed light on Jewish origins and on diseases prevalent among Jewish communities, including studies focusing on uniparentally and biparentally inherited markers7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, genome-wide patterns of variation across the vast geographic span of Jewish Diaspora communities and their respective neighbours have yet to be addressed. Here we use high-density bead arrays to genotype individuals from 14 Jewish Diaspora communities and compare these patterns of genome-wide diversity with those from 69 Old World non-Jewish populations, of which 25 have not previously been reported. These samples were carefully chosen to provide comprehensive comparisons between Jewish and non-Jewish populations in the Diaspora, as well as with non-Jewish populations from the Middle East and north Africa. Principal component and structure-like analyses identify previously unrecognized genetic substructure within the Middle East. Most Jewish samples form a remarkably tight subcluster that overlies Druze and Cypriot samples but not samples from other Levantine populations or paired Diaspora host populations. In contrast, Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) and Indian Jews (Bene Israel and Cochini) cluster with neighbouring autochthonous populations in Ethiopia and western India, respectively, despite a clear paternal link between the Bene Israel and the Levant. These results cast light on the variegated genetic architecture of the Middle East, and trace the origins of most Jewish Diaspora communities to the Levant."

[Access to the full text of the above article is by payment only.]
We have posted previously about the genetic origin of the Jews at Semites and Jews : Phoenician Gene : Judaism of Hebrews is a Religion : Jews are not a Separate Race of People but are Ethnic - LexiLine Journal 521.

The newly published studies confirm what was essentially already known from a general analysis of Y-DNA Haplogroup J2, confirming an origin of the Jews in the Levant (see the map at the beginning of this posting), more precisely, in the north of the Levant (see Ellen Levy-Coffman, A Mosaic of People: The Jewish Story and a Reassessment of the DNA Evidence, Journal of Genetic Genealogy, 2005).

This location in the north Levant meshes with Hebrew and Turkish Muslim oral history, both of which trace their ancestry back to Abraham, whose legendary birthplace is in a cave just to the south of the city of Ur (= Urfa viz. today Sanliurfa, meaning "Urfa the Glorious"). Urfa is a neighbor to the city of Harran, Abraham's place of residence prior to his sojourn to Canaan and Egypt.

Not far from Urfa and Harran is the recently discovered archaeological site of Gobekli Tepe (15 km NE of Urfa), which has turned mainstream theories of human cultural origins on their heads:
"Göbekli Tepe (Turkish for "Hill with a potbelly"; Kurdish: Girê Navokê) is a hilltop sanctuary erected on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge some 15 km northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa (formerly Urfa / Edessa) in southeastern Turkey.

The site, currently undergoing excavation by German and Turkish archaeologists, was erected by hunter-gatherers in the 10th millennium BC (ca. 11,500 years ago), before the advent of sedentism. Together with Nevalı Çori, it has revolutionized understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic."
There is no doubt -- according to our research -- that Gobekli Tepe was erected by the ancestors of the Jews as a religious sanctuary oriented by astronomy, although we do not share the overly ancient dates given to the site by the oft erring mainstream archaeologists.

We date Gobekli Tepe by astronomy to ca. 3800 B.C. and are fairly certain that this is where the astronomical calculations were made to start the Hebrew calendar, currently dated to 1 Tishri in the year 1, which is comparable to September 7, 3760 B.C. (Gregorian Calendar) or October 7, 3761 B.C. (Julian Calendar), or Julian Day 347997.5 (see the Calendar Converter).

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