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The Origin of Eastern European Jews Revealed by Autosomal, Sex Chromosomal and mtDNA Polymorphisms

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The Origin of Eastern European Jews Revealed by Autosomal, Sex Chromosomal and mtDNA Polymorphisms

Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin. Biol Direct.

Abstract

Background: This study aims to establish the likely origin of EEJ (Eastern European Jews) by genetic distance analysis of autosomal markers and haplogroups on the X and Y chromosomes and mtDNA.

Results: According to the autosomal polymorphisms the investigated Jewish populations do not share a common origin, and EEJ are closer to Italians in particular and to Europeans in general than to the other Jewish populations. The similarity of EEJ to Italians and Europeans is also supported by the X chromosomal haplogroups. In contrast according to the Y-chromosomal haplogroups EEJ are closest to the non-Jewish populations of the Eastern Mediterranean. MtDNA shows a mixed pattern, but overall EEJ are more distant from most populations and hold a marginal rather than a central position. The autosomal genetic distance matrix has a very high correlation (0.789) with geography, whereas the X-chromosomal, Y-chromosomal and mtDNA matrices have a lower correlation (0.540, 0.395 and 0.641 respectively).

Conclusions: The close genetic resemblance to Italians accords with the historical presumption that Ashkenazi Jews started their migrations across Europe in Italy and with historical evidence that conversion to Judaism was common in ancient Rome. The reasons for the discrepancy between the biparental markers and the uniparental markers are discussed.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
A multidimensional scaling plot of the autosomal genetic distance matrix excluding Ethiopian Jews. Stress = 0.100. Populations names are: EEJ - Eastern European Jews, IqJ - Iraqi Jews, InJ - Iranian Jews, MJ - Moroccan Jews, YJ - Yemenite Jews, Pa - Palestinians, Tur - Turks, Gr - Greeks, It - Italians, Ge - Germans, Br - British, Fr - French, Ru - Russians, Po - Poles. Squares represent Jews and circles non-Jews. Colour indicates geographic region: red - Europe, green - Eastern Mediterranean, blue - Iran-Iraq, purpule - Arabian peninsula, yellow - North-Africa.
Figure 2
Figure 2
A neighbor joining tree based on the autosomal polymorphisms. A number next to a node indicates the majority bootstrap support for that node out of 10,000 repetitions.
Figure 3
Figure 3
A multidimensional scaling plot of the X-chromosomal genetic distance matrix. Stress = 0.125. Populations names are: EEJ - Eastern European Jews, IqJ - Iraqi Jews, InJ - Iranian Jews, MJ - Moroccan Jews, YJ - Yemenite Jews, EJ - Ethiopian Jews, BJ - Bulgarian Jews, TrJ - Turkish Jews, Pa - Palestinians, It - Italians, Ge - Germans, Po - Poles, Fr - French, Bre - Bretons, Sp - Spaniards, Ba - Basques, EO - Ethiopians Oromo, EA - Ethiopians Amhara. Squares represent Jews and circles non-Jews. Colour indicates geographic region: red - Europe, green - Eastern Mediterranean, blue - Iran-Iraq, purpule - Arabian peninsula, yellow - North-Africa, brown - Ethiopia.
Figure 4
Figure 4
A multidimensional scaling plot of the Y-chromosomal genetic distance matrix. Stress = 0.133. Populations names are: EEJ - Eastern European Jews, IqJ - Iraqi Jews, InJ - Iranian Jews, MJ - Moroccan Jews, LJ - Libyan Jews, DJ - Djerban Jews, YJ - Yemenite Jews, EJ - Ethiopian Jews, Pa - Palestinians, It - Italians, Fr - French, Br - British, Ge - Germans, Ru - Russians, Po - Poles, SC - Serbo-Croats, Alb - Albanians, Gr - Greeks, Ma - Macedonians, Ro - Romanians, Tur - Turks, Inn - Iranians-North, Ins - Iranians-South, Iq - Iraqis, Cy - Cypriots, Sy - Syrians, Lb - Lebanese, Jo - Jordanians, SA - Saudi-Arabians, Qa - Qataris, UA - United Arab Emirates, Om - Omanis, Ye - Yemenites, Eg - Egyptians, Mo - Moroccans, Alg - Algerians, Tun - Tunisians, EO - Ethiopians Oromo, EA - Ethiopians Amhara. Squares represent Jews and circles non-Jews. Colour indicates geographic region: red - Europe, green - Eastern Mediterranean, blue - Iran-Iraq, purpule - Arabian peninsula, yellow - North-Africa, brown - Ethiopia.
Figure 5
Figure 5
A multidimensional scaling plot of the mtDNA genetic distance matrix. Stress = 0.110 for the outer plot and 0.161 for the inner one. Populations names are: EEJ - Eastern European Jews, IqJ - Iraqi Jews, InJ - Iranian Jews, MJ - Moroccan Jews, LJ - Libyan Jews, TnJ - Tunisian Jews, BJ - Bulgarian Jews, TrJ - Turkish Jews, YJ - Yemenite Jews, EJ - Ethiopian Jews, Pa - Palestinians, It - Italians, Fr - French, Br - British, Ge - Germans, Ru - Russians, Po - Poles, Sp - Spaniards, Gr - Greeks, Tur - Turks, In - Iranians, Cy - Cypriots, Sy - Syrians, Lb - Lebanese, Jo - Jordanians, SA - Saudi-Arabians, Ye - Yemenites, Eg - Egyptians, MoA - Moroccan Arabs, MoB - Moroccan Berbers, Et - Ethiopians. Squares represent Jews and circles non-Jews. Colour indicates geographic region: red - Europe, green - Eastern Mediterranean, blue - Iran-Iraq, purpule - Arabian peninsula, yellow - North-Africa, brown - Ethiopia.
Figure 6
Figure 6
Correlation of autosomal (X axis) and mtDNA (Y axis) distances. Red circles denote EEJ. Most of the mtDNA distances of EEJ are too high relative to their autosomal distances, in contrast to most other distances (r = 0.826), attesting the greater genetic drift, to which the uniparental markers of EEJ were subjected.

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References

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