Friday, July 2, 2010

The Jewish Genome

Menahem Kahana / AFP-Getty
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in front of the Tomb of the Patriarch, where Old Testament prophet Abraham and his son Isaac are thought to be buried.



2 July 2010: With a big hat tip to Glenn and Deb for bringing article this to my attention, the following Newsweek.com article is presented for your reading pleasure. Brothers and sisters, this is one fascinating read, both for its relevence to the Old Testament hstorical record and the ongoing regathering of the Jews back into their God-given land! Below are the openning paragraph's - click the Newsweek link to read the entire article.

The DNA of Abraham’s Children

Analysis of Jewish genomes refutes the Khazar claim.

Jews have historically considered themselves “people of the book” (am hasefer in Hebrew), referring to sacred tomes, but the phrase is turning out to have an equally powerful, if unintended, meaning: scientists are able to read Jewish genomes like a history book. The latest DNA volume weighs in on the controversial, centuries-old (and now revived in a 2008 book) claim that European Jews are all the descendants of Khazars, a Turkic group of the north Caucasus who converted to Judaism in the late eighth and early ninth century. The DNA has spoken: no.

In the wake of studies in the 1990s that supported biblically based notions of a priestly caste descended from Aaron, brother of Moses, an ambitious new project to analyze genomes collected from Jewish volunteers has yielded its first discoveries. In a paper with the kind of catchy title you rarely see in science journals—“Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era”—scientists report that the Jews of the Diaspora share a set of telltale genetic markers, supporting the traditional belief that Jews scattered around the world have a common ancestry. But various Diaspora populations have their own distinct genetic signatures, shedding light on their origins and history. In addition to the age-old question of whether Jews are simply people who share a religion or are a distinct population, the scientific verdict is settling on the latter.

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