Research press release


Nature Communications

Genetics: A Middle Eastern origin for Ashkenazi Levites



今回、Doron Beharたちは、ユダヤ人8人と非ユダヤ人5人のY染色体の塩基配列解読を行い、R1a内に新たな遺伝的マーカーを同定した。次いで、ヨーロッパ、北アフリカ、そして、アジアとシベリア南部の異なる地域のさまざまな集団に含まれるユダヤ人と非ユダヤ人からなる2,834人について、この遺伝的マーカーを調べた。


High coverage sequencing of whole Y-chromosomes from Jewish individuals suggests that Ashkenazi Levites may have originated in the Middle East. The work, published in Nature Communications, reconstructs the evolutionary history of Ashkenazi Levites and provides a comprehensive analysis of the geographic origins of this group.

The origins of Ashkenazi Levites, members of a paternally inherited Jewish priestly class, remain controversial. Previous studies have reported a distinct genetic region on the Y-chromosome, known as R1a, which defines the Ashkenazi lineage. However, population based genetic analysis of this region has revealed conflicting results in regards to the location of its origin.

Doron Behar and colleagues sequenced the Y-chromosomes of 8 Jewish and 5 non-Jewish individuals and identified a new genetic marker within R1a. They then examined this marker in a further 2,834 individuals, both Jewish andnon-Jewish, from various populations across Europe, North Africa, different regions of Asia and South Siberia.

They analyze the evolutionary relationships between these individuals and suggest that the genetic marker originated in the Middle East, ruling out an Eastern European origin for Ashkenazi Levites. The authors propose that Jewish migrants carried this marker into Europe where it expanded amongst Ashkenazi Levites during their subsequent dispersion in the region. This study demonstrates the power of genetic studies to refine genealogical relationships and trace gene flow between populations.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms3928

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