Genes Tell Intricate Tale of Jewish Diaspora

Genes Tell Intricate Tale of Jewish Diaspora

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A new genetic map paints a comprehensive picture of the 2,000 or so years in which different Jewish groups migrated across the globe, with some becoming genetically isolated units while others seemed to mix and mingle more.

The findings allow researchers to trace the diaspora, or the historical migration, of the Jews, which began in the sixth century B.C. when the Babylonians conquered the Kingdom of Judah. Some Jews remained in Judah under Babylonian rule, while others fled to Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. Jewish migrations have continued into the present day. The researchers found that the genomes of Jewish North African groups are distinct from one another, but that they show linkages to each other absent from their non-Jewish North African neighbors. The findings reveal a history of close-knit communities prone to intermarriage, said study leader Harry Ostrer.

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