Genetic diversity among the Arabs

Community Genet. 2005;8(1):21-6. doi: 10.1159/000083333.


The Arabs in general are genetically diverse. Major factors that contributed to their diversity include the migrations of Semitic tribes from the Arabian Peninsula, the Islamic expansion in the 7th century AD, the Crusade wars and the recent migration dynamics. These events have resulted in the admixture of the original Arabs with other populations extending from east and south Asia to Europe and Africa. Their demographic features include high rates of consanguinity, a large family size and a rapid population growth. There is a high frequency of autosomal recessive disorders and increased frequencies of homozygosity for autosomal dominant traits, such as familial hypercholesterolemia and X-linked traits, such as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. The patterns of autosomal recessive disorders, including their mutations, may be different in various geographic locations within the Arab world. However, there are disorders that are specifically prevalent among the Arabs either uniformly or in certain locations. The Arab Genetic diseases include Bardet-Biedl syndrome, Meckel syndrome, autosomal recessive severe childhood muscular dystrophy, osteopetrosis and renal tubular acidosis, Sanjad-Sakati syndrome and others.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabs / genetics*
  • Consanguinity
  • Female
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / ethnology
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle East
  • Mutation
  • Prevalence