Posted by: Janette Silverman | August 13, 2012

Study Defines the Genetic Map of Jewish Diasporas

Thank you to Jan Meisels Allen, IAJGS Vice President for sharing this

A new genetic study of Jews from North Africa led by  Dr. Harry Ostrer,
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, in New York City,
provided evidence that Middle Eastern Jews settled in the region during
Classical Antiquity, married local populations and formed distinct
populations that remained largely intact for more than 2,000 years.

Dr. Ostrer, has a video where he talks about the study which may  be viewed
at: Dr. Ostrer noted that obtaining a
comprehensive genetic fingerprint of various Jewish subpopulations can help
reveal genetic links to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other common
diseases. The study found, North African Jews exhibited marriage within
their own religious and cultural group in accordance with custom (endogamy).
Two major subgroups within this overall population were identified:
Moroccan/Algerian Jews and Djerban (Tunisian)/Libyan Jews. The two subgroups
varied in their degree of European mixture, with Moroccan/Algerian Jews
tending to be more related to Europeans-most likely stemming from the
expulsion of Sephardic Jews from Spain during the Inquisition, starting in
1492.  To read the press release go to:

original url:

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Science and may be obtained for a fee at:

original URL:

In a previous study by in 2010, Dr. Ostrer, found that Jews from the major
Diaspora groups formed a distinct population cluster, albeit one that is
closely related to European and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations. The
genetic analysis showed that the two major groups, Middle Eastern Jews and
European Jews, diverged from each other approximately 2,500 years ago.
Information on that study may be found at:

original url:

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