GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2008-06 > 1212379913
From: ellen Levy <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] RES: Correlation of Y-haplogroups J2 andJ1withNeolithicagro-pastoral economies
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 21:11:53 -0700 (PDT)
Yes, it is entirely possible that the ancient Israelites contained some frequency of J2 and J1 (I think J* is a much more remote possibility). And it could be the ancient Cohanim priesthood has preserved an ancient Israelite lineage. I think we were all hoping for an updated genetic study on this issue, but it hasn't yet materialized.
But I'd approach some of evidence you have presented with caution. .
Why? While certain groups have a strong patrilineal structure, many groups like Ashkenazi Jews (and I do think the various Jewish ethnicities are genetically distinct from each other, so we can't really just talk about "Jews" as a single ethnic group) have also suffered very severe founder effects and subsequent genetic drift, so much so that the origins of some of the lineages are very difficult to decipher.
Certainly modern-day populations like the Samaritans have also suffered very significant founder effects, bottlenecks and drift. We are talking about a group that was down to probably less than 100 individuals at one time that is now slowly expanding, but still remains exceedingly small.
Also, I'd be wary of using contemporary Middle Eastern populations, particularly ones like Saudi Arabians, as proxies for ancient populations like the Israelites. These peoples have not been static genetically speaking. The studies indicate they have been significantly impacted by later migrations of peoples, particularly mtDNA lineages out of Africa from the slave trade, and more importantly, Y lineage J1 in the 7th century. The Jews were long gone from the region by this time period.
I think there may have been an earlier spread of J1 around the region, including into areas of Europe, in a manner similiar to spread of mtDNA lineage X (as discussed in the recent paper on the Druze) around the Mediterranean, but this speculative on my part.
Jews, if we are talking Ashkenazi Jews, do have a lot of J. But they also have a lot of E3b, G, R1b (as much R1b as J in the Jewish DNA Project, in fact), Q, etc. And as I mentioned, we have to be aware of the very significant impact that founder effects had on the early formation of the Ashkenazi community.
I do agree that only aDNA studies will be able to answer the question of the genetic makeup of the ancient Israelites more conclusively.
Again, I'm not arguing that it is not possible, even likely, that there was some J1 and J2, maybe even in significant frequency, among the ancient Israelites. However, I'd also be cautious asserting that admixture with non-Jewish groups reduced the frequency of J. I think it also quite possible that contemporary Jewish groups obtained at least some of their J ancestry from non-Levantine, non-Israelite peoples such as the Romans, Turks, Greeks, and groups from the Balkans.