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North African Diaspora written in genes

DNA analysis identifies distinct groups and migrations

Historical Jewish migrations out of the Middle East about 2,000 years ago can also be traced in the DNA of people living in Africa and Southwest Asia today.

These distinctive genetic signatures bolster historical accounts that there were waves of Jewish migration out of the Middle East into neighboring regions. Human geneticist Harry Ostrer of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and colleagues report their analysis of 509 people from 15 Jewish populations online August 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focusing their attention on communities in North Africa, Ethiopia, Yemen and the Caucasus.

Geneticists have previously traced movements of Jewish groups in Europe and the Middle East (SN: 7/3/10, p. 13; SN: 1/3/09, p. 12), but few studies have focused on Diaspora groups in other regions.

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