Last updated on: 5/16/2008 1:11:00 PM PST

To What Extent Are Arabs and Jews Genetically Linked?



General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Michael F. Hammer, PhD, in a May 2000 study titled "Jewish and Middle Eastern Non-Jewish Populations Share a Common Pool of Y-Chromosome Biallelic Haplotypes," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reported:

"The extremely close affinity of Jewish and non-Jewish Middle Eastern populations... supports the hypothesis of a common Middle Eastern origin. Of the Middle Eastern populations included in this study, only the Syrian and Palestinian samples mapped within the central cluster of Jewish populations. Continued studies of variation in larger samples, additional populations, and at other loci are needed to confirm our inferences as well as to clarify the affinities of Jewish and Middle Eastern Arab populations."

May 2000 - Michael F. Hammer, PhD 

Ariella Oppenheim, PhD, Professor of Experimental Hematology at the Department of Hematology, Hebrew University–Hadassah Medical School, in a 2001 study published in The American Journal of Human Genetics titled "The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East," wrote the following:

"A sample of 526 Y chromosomes representing six Middle Eastern populations (Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Kurdish Jews from Israel; Muslim Kurds; Muslim Arabs from Israel and the Palestinian Authority Area; and Bedouin from the Negev) was analyzed... The investigation of the genetic relationship among three Jewish communities revealed that Kurdish and Sephardic Jews were indistinguishable from one another, whereas both differed slightly, yet significantly, from Ashkenazi Jews. The differences among Ashkenazim may be a result of low-level gene flow from European populations and/or genetic drift during isolation. Admixture between Kurdish Jews and their former Muslim host population in Kurdistan appeared to be negligible. In comparison with data available from other relevant populations in the region, Jews were found to be more closely related to groups in the north of the Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks, and Armenians) than to their Arab neighbors... Palestinian Arabs and Bedouin differed from the other Middle Eastern populations studied here... These chromosomes might have been introduced through migrations from the Arabian Peninsula during the last two millennia. The present study contributes to the elucidation of the complex demographic history that shaped the present-day genetic landscape in the region...

...Middle Eastern populations we analyzed are closely related and their Y chromosome pool is distinct from that of Europeans. Genetic dating performed in the present study, together with age estimates reported elsewhere (reviewed by Bosch et al. 1999), suggests that the major haplogroups observed in our sample are much older than the populations in which they are found. Thus, the common genetic Middle Eastern background predates the ethnogenesis in the region. The study demonstrates that the Y chromosome pool of Jews is an integral part of the genetic landscape of the region and, in particular, that Jews exhibit a high degree of genetic affinity to populations living in the north of the Fertile Crescent."

2001 - Ariella Oppenheim, PhD