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'Previous genetic studies of blood group and serum markers suggested that Jewish groups had Middle Eastern origin with greater genetic similarity between paired Jewish populations,' says senior study author, Dr. 'More recent studies of Y chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA have pointed to founder effects of both Middle Eastern and local origin, yet, the issue of how to characterize Jewish people as mere coreligionists or as genetic isolates that may be closely or loosely related remained unresolved. Yet the genomes of the Jewish Diaspora groups have distinctive features that are representative of each group's genetic history.' says Dr. 'Our study demonstrated that the studied Jewish populations represent a series of geographical isolates or clusters with genetic threads that weave them together,' added Dr. The researchers identified distinct Jewish population clusters that each exhibited a shared Middle Eastern ancestry, proximity to contemporary Middle Eastern populations and variable degrees of European and North African genetic intermingling. The two major groups, Middle Eastern Jews and European Jews, were timed to have diverged from each other approximately 2500 years ago.
Southern European populations show the greatest proximity to Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Italian Jews, reflecting the large-scale southern European conversion and admixture known to have occurred over 2,000 years ago during the formation of the European Jewry. Ostrer noted, 'The study supports the idea of a Jewish people linked by a shared genetic history.
However, these and successor studies of monoallelic Y chromosomal and mitochondrial genetic markers did not resolve the issues of within and between-group Jewish genetic identity.[...] Consistent with recent reports (13, 20, 23-25), principal component analysis (PCA) using these combined datasets confirmed that the AJ individuals cluster distinctly from Europeans, aligning closest to Southern European populations along the first principal component, suggesting a more southern origin, and aligning with Central Europeans along the second, consistent with migration to this region (Fig.S1)." Excerpts from page 16223: "The higher diversity in the AJ population was paralleled by a lower inbreeding coefficient, F, indicating the AJ population is more outbred than Europeans, not inbred, as has long been assumed (P "Through genomic analysis, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have shown that the Ashkenazi Jewish population is genetically more diverse than people of European descent, despite previous assumptions that Ashkenazi Jews have been an isolated population.The IBD segment sharing and the proximity of European Jews to each other and to southern European populations suggested similar origins for European Jewry and refuted large-scale genetic contributions of Central and Eastern European and Slavic populations to the formation of Ashkenazi Jewry.Rapid decay of IBD in Ashkenazi Jewish genomes was consistent with a severe bottleneck followed by large expansion, such as occurred with the so-called demographic miracle of population expansion from 50,000 people at the beginning of the 15th century to 5,000,000 people at the beginning of the 19th century.