Saturday, March 03, 2012

Founding Ashkenazi mtDNA Haplogroups

י׳ באדר תשע"ב
Keowulf 12
Ash 15

Research released in 2006 by Doron Behar shows that 40% of Ashkenazic Jews descend in direct maternal line from one of four women. There remains debate and disagreement within the scientific genetic community as to whether or not the mtDNA haplogroups (Hgs) of these four women are of Middle Eastern or European origin.

The original Behar research paper concludes that the mtDNA Hgs associated with these four founding women to be: K1a1b1a, K1a9, K2a2a and N1b.

Of course, these four founding maternal Hgs don't include 60% of Ashkenazic Jews or any non-Ashkenazic Jews. The Behar paper defines "Ashkenazi" as referring "to Jews of mainly central and eastern European ancestry, in contrast to those of Iberian (Sephardic), Near Eastern, or North African origin." I'm not sure how Jews of additional Northwestern European heritage fit into this definition.

Although I carry at least one of the defining genetic markers of the K2 Hg subclade, I'm not sure how any of these research findings are directly relevant to me except to show that I'm likely not from that 40% of Ashkenazic Jewry covered by Behar's study.

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