ABSTRACT: Cochin Jews form a small and unique community on the Malabar coast in southwest India. While the arrival time of any putative Jewish ancestors of the community has been speculated to have taken place as far back as biblical times (King Solomon's era), a Jewish community in the Malabar coast has been documented only since the 9th century CE. Here, we explore the genetic history of Cochin Jews by collecting and genotyping 21 community members and combining the data with that of 707 individuals from 72 other Indian, Jewish, and Pakistani populations, together with additional individuals from worldwide populations. We applied comprehensive genome-wide analyses based on principal component analysis, F ST, ADMIXTURE, identity-by-descent sharing, admixture linkage disequilibrium decay, haplotype sharing, allele sharing autocorrelation decay and contrasting the X chromosome with the autosomes. We find that, as reported by several previous studies, the genetics of Cochin Jews resembles that of local Indian populations. However, we also identify considerable Jewish genetic ancestry that is not present in any other Indian or Pakistani populations (with the exception of the Jewish Bene Israel, which we characterized previously). Combined, Cochin Jews have both Jewish and Indian ancestry. Specifically, we detect a significant recent Jewish gene flow into this community 13-22 generations (~470-730 years) ago, with contributions from Yemenite, Sephardi, and Middle-Eastern Jews, in accordance with historical records. Genetic analyses also point to high endogamy and a recent population bottleneck in this population, which might explain the increased prevalence of some recessive diseases in Cochin Jews.
Project description:The Bene Israel Jewish community from West India is a unique population whose history before the 18th century remains largely unknown. Bene Israel members consider themselves as descendants of Jews, yet the identity of Jewish ancestors and their arrival time to India are unknown, with speculations on arrival time varying between the 8th century BCE and the 6th century CE. Here, we characterize the genetic history of Bene Israel by collecting and genotyping 18 Bene Israel individuals. Combining with 486 individuals from 41 other Jewish, Indian and Pakistani populations, and additional individuals from worldwide populations, we conducted comprehensive genome-wide analyses based on FST, principal component analysis, ADMIXTURE, identity-by-descent sharing, admixture linkage disequilibrium decay, haplotype sharing and allele sharing autocorrelation decay, as well as contrasted patterns between the X chromosome and the autosomes. The genetics of Bene Israel individuals resemble local Indian populations, while at the same time constituting a clearly separated and unique population in India. They are unique among Indian and Pakistani populations we analyzed in sharing considerable genetic ancestry with other Jewish populations. Putting together the results from all analyses point to Bene Israel being an admixed population with both Jewish and Indian ancestry, with the genetic contribution of each of these ancestral populations being substantial. The admixture took place in the last millennium, about 19-33 generations ago. It involved Middle-Eastern Jews and was sex-biased, with more male Jewish and local female contribution. It was followed by a population bottleneck and high endogamy, which can lead to increased prevalence of recessive diseases in this population. This study provides an example of how genetic analysis advances our knowledge of human history in cases where other disciplines lack the relevant data to do so.
Project description:Due to the lack of written records or inscription, the origin and affiliation of Indian Jewish populations with other world populations remain contentious. Previous genetic studies have found evidence for a minor shared ancestry of Indian Jewish with Middle Eastern (Jewish) populations. However, these studies (relied on limited individuals), haven't explored the detailed temporal and spatial admixture process of Indian Jewish populations with the local Indian populations. Here, using large sample size with combination of high resolution biparental (autosomal) and uniparental markers (Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA), we reconstructed genetic history of Indian Jewish by investigating the patterns of genetic diversity. Consistent with the previous observations, we detected minor Middle Eastern specific ancestry component among Indian Jewish communities, but virtually negligible in their local neighbouring Indian populations. The temporal test of admixture suggested that the first admixture of migrant Jewish populations from Middle East to South India (Cochin) occurred during fifth century. Overall, we concluded that the Jewish migration and admixture in India left a record in their genomes, which can link them to the 'Jewish Diaspora'.
Project description:For more than a century, Jews and non-Jews alike have tried to define the relatedness of contemporary Jewish people. 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. 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. Here, genome-wide analysis of seven Jewish groups (Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Italian, Turkish, Greek, and Ashkenazi) and comparison with non-Jewish groups demonstrated distinctive Jewish population clusters, each with shared Middle Eastern ancestry, proximity to contemporary Middle Eastern populations, and variable degrees of European and North African admixture. Two major groups were identified by principal component, phylogenetic, and identity by descent (IBD) analysis: Middle Eastern Jews and European/Syrian Jews. 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. Thus, this study demonstrates that European/Syrian and Middle Eastern Jews represent a series of geographical isolates or clusters woven together by shared IBD genetic threads.
Project description:North African Jews constitute the second largest Jewish Diaspora group. However, their relatedness to each other; to European, Middle Eastern, and other Jewish Diaspora groups; and to their former North African non-Jewish neighbors has not been well defined. Here, genome-wide analysis of five North African Jewish groups (Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Djerban, and Libyan) and comparison with other Jewish and non-Jewish groups demonstrated distinctive North African Jewish population clusters with proximity to other Jewish populations and variable degrees of Middle Eastern, European, and North African admixture. Two major subgroups were identified by principal component, neighbor joining tree, and identity-by-descent analysis-Moroccan/Algerian and Djerban/Libyan-that varied in their degree of European admixture. These populations showed a high degree of endogamy and were part of a larger Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish group. By principal component analysis, these North African groups were orthogonal to contemporary populations from North and South Morocco, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Thus, this study is compatible with the history of North African Jews-founding during Classical Antiquity with proselytism of local populations, followed by genetic isolation with the rise of Christianity and then Islam, and admixture following the emigration of Sephardic Jews during the Inquisition.
Project description:The history of the Jewish Diaspora dates back to the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests in the Levant, followed by complex demographic and migratory trajectories over the ensuing millennia which pose a serious challenge to unraveling population genetic patterns. Here we ask whether phylogenetic analysis, based on highly resolved mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) phylogenies can discern among maternal ancestries of the Diaspora. Accordingly, 1,142 samples from 14 different non-Ashkenazi Jewish communities were analyzed. A list of complete mtDNA sequences was established for all variants present at high frequency in the communities studied, along with high-resolution genotyping of all samples. Unlike the previously reported pattern observed among Ashkenazi Jews, the numerically major portion of the non-Ashkenazi Jews, currently estimated at 5 million people and comprised of the Moroccan, Iraqi, Iranian and Iberian Exile Jewish communities showed no evidence for a narrow founder effect, which did however characterize the smaller and more remote Belmonte, Indian and the two Caucasus communities. The Indian and Ethiopian Jewish sample sets suggested local female introgression, while mtDNAs in all other communities studied belong to a well-characterized West Eurasian pool of maternal lineages. Absence of sub-Saharan African mtDNA lineages among the North African Jewish communities suggests negligible or low level of admixture with females of the host populations among whom the African haplogroup (Hg) L0-L3 sub-clades variants are common. In contrast, the North African and Iberian Exile Jewish communities show influence of putative Iberian admixture as documented by mtDNA Hg HV0 variants. These findings highlight striking differences in the demographic history of the widespread Jewish Diaspora.
Project description:Contemporary Jews comprise an aggregate of ethno-religious communities whose worldwide members identify with each other through various shared religious, historical, and cultural traditions1,2. Historical evidence suggests common origins in the Middle East, followed by migrations leading to the establishment of communities of Jews in Europe, Africa, and Asia - in what is termed the Jewish Diaspora3-5. This complex demographic history imposes special challenges in attempting to address the genetic structure of the Jewish people6. While many genetic studies have shed light on Jewish diseases and origins, including those focusing on uniparentally- and biparentally-inherited markers7-16, genome-wide patterns of variation across the vast geographic span of Jewish Diaspora communities and their respective neighbors have yet to be addressed. Here we use high-density bead arrays to genotype individuals from 14 Jewish Diaspora communities, and compare these patterns of genome-wide diversity with those from 69 Old World non-Jewish populations, of which 25 have not been previously reported. These samples were carefully chosen to provide comprehensive comparisons between Jewish and non-Jewish populations in the Diaspora, as well as with non-Jewish populations from the Middle East and North Africa. Principal component and structure-like analyses identify previously unrecognized genetic substructure within the Middle East. Most Jewish samples form a remarkably tight sub-cluster that overlies Druze and Cypriot samples, but not samples from other Levantine populations or paired Diaspora host populations. In contrast, Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) and Bene Israel Indian Jews cluster with neighbouring autochthonous populations in Ethiopia and western India, respectively; despite a clear paternal link between the Bene Israel and the Levant. These results cast light on the variegated genetic architecture of the Middle East, and trace the origins of most Jewish Diaspora communities to the Levant. Overall design: 466 samples are analysed on three different Illumina platforms.
Project description:Contemporary Jews comprise an aggregate of ethno-religious communities whose worldwide members identify with each other through various shared religious, historical, and cultural traditions1,2. Historical evidence suggests common origins in the Middle East, followed by migrations leading to the establishment of communities of Jews in Europe, Africa, and Asia - in what is termed the Jewish Diaspora3-5. This complex demographic history imposes special challenges in attempting to address the genetic structure of the Jewish people6. While many genetic studies have shed light on Jewish diseases and origins, including those focusing on uniparentally- and biparentally-inherited markers7-16, genome-wide patterns of variation across the vast geographic span of Jewish Diaspora communities and their respective neighbors have yet to be addressed. Here we use high-density bead arrays to genotype individuals from 14 Jewish Diaspora communities, and compare these patterns of genome-wide diversity with those from 69 Old World non-Jewish populations, of which 25 have not been previously reported. These samples were carefully chosen to provide comprehensive comparisons between Jewish and non-Jewish populations in the Diaspora, as well as with non-Jewish populations from the Middle East and North Africa. Principal component and structure-like analyses identify previously unrecognized genetic substructure within the Middle East. Most Jewish samples form a remarkably tight sub-cluster that overlies Druze and Cypriot samples, but not samples from other Levantine populations or paired Diaspora host populations. In contrast, Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) and Bene Israel Indian Jews cluster with neighbouring autochthonous populations in Ethiopia and western India, respectively; despite a clear paternal link between the Bene Israel and the Levant. These results cast light on the variegated genetic architecture of the Middle East, and trace the origins of most Jewish Diaspora communities to the Levant. 466 samples are analysed on three different Illumina platforms.
Project description:Recent studies have highlighted the potential of analyses of genomic sharing to produce insight into the demographic processes affecting human populations. We study runs of homozygosity (ROH) in 18 Jewish populations, examining these groups in relation to 123 non-Jewish populations sampled worldwide.By sorting ROH into 3 length classes (short, intermediate, and long), we evaluate the impact of demographic processes on genomic patterns in Jewish populations.We find that the portion of the genome appearing in long ROH - the length class most directly related to recent consanguinity - closely accords with data gathered from interviews during the 1950s on frequencies of consanguineous unions in various Jewish groups.The high correlation between 1950s consanguinity levels and coverage by long ROH explains differences across populations in ROH patterns. The dissection of ROH into length classes and the comparison to consanguinity data assist in understanding a number of additional phenomena, including similarities of Jewish populations to Middle Eastern, European, and Central and South Asian non-Jewish populations in short ROH patterns, relative lengths of identity-by-descent tracts in different Jewish groups, and the "population isolate" status of the Ashkenazi Jews.
Project description:The 185delAG* BRCA1 mutation is encountered primarily in Jewish Ashkenazi and Iraqi individuals, and sporadically in non-Jews. Previous studies estimated that this is a founder mutation in Jewish mutation carriers that arose before the dispersion of Jews in the Diaspora ~2500 years ago. The aim of this study was to assess the haplotype in ethnically diverse 185delAG* BRCA1 mutation carriers, and to estimate the age at which the mutation arose. Ethnically diverse Jewish and non-Jewish 185delAG*BRCA1 mutation carriers and their relatives were genotyped using 15 microsatellite markers and three SNPs spanning 12.5?MB, encompassing the BRCA1 gene locus. Estimation of mutation age was based on a subset of 11 markers spanning a region of ~5?MB, using a previously developed algorithm applying the maximum likelihood method. Overall, 188 participants (154 carriers and 34 noncarriers) from 115 families were included: Ashkenazi, Iraq, Kuchin-Indians, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Tunisia, Bulgaria, non-Jewish English, non-Jewish Malaysian, and Hispanics. Haplotype analysis indicated that the 185delAG mutation arose 750-1500 years ago. In Ashkenazim, it is a founder mutation that arose 61 generations ago, and with a small group of founder mutations was introduced into the Hispanic population (conversos) ~650 years ago, and into the Iraqi-Jewish community ~450 years ago. The 185delAG mutation in the non-Jewish populations in Malaysia and the UK arose at least twice independently. We conclude that the 185delAG* BRCA1 mutation resides on a common haplotype among Ashkenazi Jews, and arose about 61 generations ago and arose independently at least twice in non-Jews.
Project description:Most studies of European genetic diversity have focused on large-scale variation and interpretations based on events in prehistory, but migrations and invasions in historical times could also have had profound effects on the genetic landscape. The Iberian Peninsula provides a suitable region for examination of the demographic impact of such recent events, because its complex recent history has involved the long-term residence of two very different populations with distinct geographical origins and their own particular cultural and religious characteristics-North African Muslims and Sephardic Jews. To address this issue, we analyzed Y chromosome haplotypes, which provide the necessary phylogeographic resolution, in 1140 males from the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands. Admixture analysis based on binary and Y-STR haplotypes indicates a high mean proportion of ancestry from North African (10.6%) and Sephardic Jewish (19.8%) sources. Despite alternative possible sources for lineages ascribed a Sephardic Jewish origin, these proportions attest to a high level of religious conversion (whether voluntary or enforced), driven by historical episodes of social and religious intolerance, that ultimately led to the integration of descendants. In agreement with the historical record, analysis of haplotype sharing and diversity within specific haplogroups suggests that the Sephardic Jewish component is the more ancient. The geographical distribution of North African ancestry in the peninsula does not reflect the initial colonization and subsequent withdrawal and is likely to result from later enforced population movement-more marked in some regions than in others-plus the effects of genetic drift.