Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry Confirmed European by mtDNA Tests. By Noah Wiener.

Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry Confirmed European by mtDNA Tests. By Noah Wiener. Bible History Daily, October 10, 2013.

A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineages. By Marta D. Costa, Martin B. Richards et al. Nature Communications, October 8, 2013. PDF. Also here.


The origins of Ashkenazi Jews remain highly controversial. Like Judaism, mitochondrial DNA is passed along the maternal line. Its variation in the Ashkenazim is highly distinctive, with four major and numerous minor founders. However, due to their rarity in the general population, these founders have been difficult to trace to a source. Here we show that all four major founders, ~40% of Ashkenazi mtDNA variation, have ancestry in prehistoric Europe, rather than the Near East or Caucasus. Furthermore, most of the remaining minor founders share a similar deep European ancestry. Thus the great majority of Ashkenazi maternal lineages were not brought from the Levant, as commonly supposed, nor recruited in the Caucasus, as sometimes suggested, but assimilated within Europe. These results point to a significant role for the conversion of women in the formation of Ashkenazi communities, and provide the foundation for a detailed reconstruction of Ashkenazi genealogical history.

Genes Suggest European Women at Root of Ashkenazi Family Tree. By Nicholas Wade. New York Times, October 8, 2013.

Founding Mothers of Ashkenazi Jews May Be Converts, Study Finds. By Elizabeth Lopatto. Bloomberg, October 8, 2013.

Did Modern Jews Originate in Italy? By Michael Balter. Science News, October 8, 2013.

Ashkenazi Jews Trace Ancestry to Europe Not the Near East, Ancient Jewish Men “Married European Women.” By Zoe Mintz. International Business Times, October 8, 2013.

DNA Study Finds European Jewish Women Did Not Come From Middle East. By Jonathan Vankin. Opposing Views, October 14, 2013.

“Jews a Race” Genetic Theory Comes Under Fierce Attack by DNA Expert. By Rita Rubin. NJBR, May 7, 2013.

Common Genetic Thread Link Thousands of Years of Jewish Ancestry. NJBR, April 28, 2013.