- origin of Ashkenazi Jews, who come most recently from Europe > at least their maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe.
- finding contradicts notion that European Jews mostly descend from people who left Israel + Middle East around 2,000 years ago.
- substantial proportion of population originates from local Europeans who converted to Judaism
- Little known about history of Ashkenazi Jews before they were expelled from the Mediterranean + settled in what is now Poland around the 12th century.
- Ashkenazi Jews genetically as closely related to each other as fourth or fifth cousins
- Past research = 50 percent to 80 percent of DNA from Ashkenazi Y chromosome originated in the Near East => supports story wherein Jews came from Israel + largely eschewed intermarriage when they settled in Europe. [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]
- historical documents tell slightly different tale > by time of destruction of Second Temple in A.D. 70 > 6 million Jews living in the Roman Empire > outside Israel, mainly in Italy and Southern Europe. <= only about 500,000 lived in Judea
- major Jewish communities were outside Judea
- four founders responsible for 40 percent of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA > originated in Europe.
- more than 80 percent of maternal lineages of Ashkenazi Jews traced to Europe, with only a few lineages originating in the Near East.
- debunk one of most questionable hypotheses: that most Ashkenazi Jews can trace their roots to mysterious Khazar Kingdom that flourished during the ninth century in region between Byzantine Empire + Persian Empire
- founding Ashkenazi women = converts from local European populations.
By Tia Ghose, Staff Writer | October 8, 2013
The origin of the Ashkenazi Jews, who come most recently from Europe, has largely been shrouded in mystery. But a new study suggests that at least their maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe.
Though the finding may seem intuitive, it contradicts the notion that European Jews mostly descend from people who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago. Instead, a substantial proportion of the population originates from local Europeans who converted to Judaism, said study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England.
Little is known about the history of Ashkenazi Jews before they were expelled from the Mediterranean and settled in what is now Poland around the 12th century. On average, all Ashkenazi Jews are genetically…
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