The “mystery” of Ashkenazic origins

Posted by JW Holliday on Tuesday, 05 July 2005 18:16.

In this post I comment on a genetic review by Ellen Levy-Coffman titled “A mosaic of people: The Jewish story and a reassessment of the DNA evidence.”

In general, I find the paper interesting and thought-provoking.  I do think that, most probably, its basic conclusions are correct in the essentials.  But I find fault with the “spin” the author puts on the data, and I disagree with her interpretations.  I also regret that virtually all of the work on this subject has been done with single-locus, gender-specific genetic markers that are of limited utility.  That second point is no fault of the author (although she could have pointed it out); nonetheless, the conclusions that can be made of the data are constrained by the nature of the data themselves.

So, my specific points are:-

The focus of the present study is to analyse and reassess Ashkenazi results obtained by DNA researchers and synthesize them into a coherent picture of Jewish genetics …

Well, if you want such a coherent picture, Ellen, I would advise you to encourage researchers to do at least SOME autosomal multiple loci DNA studies.

Thus, Judaism is a mosaic of culture, religion, ethnicity, and for some, a way of life.  It is an identity that is not quite a nationality, but neither is it a simple ethnic or cultural phenomenon either.  This unusual combination of characteristics, coupled with Jewish resistance over the centuries to assimilation and strong adherence to their religious faith, has contributed to the intense feelings of curiosity, hatred, admiration, attraction and hostility by the rest of the world.

It may make the author feel better to believe that these particular aspects of Jewish identity, coupled with a resistance to assimilation (more on that later), are the reasons for the hostility by “the rest of the world.”  A reading of the works of Dr Kevin MacDonald may suggest other reasons as well.  It is extremely important for any group that suffers from the “hatred” and “hostility” of “the rest of the world” to fully understand the reasons behind said animus – for only when it is understood, when all the facts are know, can things ever change.

Early on, the unique history of the Jews attracted DNA researchers who sought to solve the mystery of the origins of the Jewish people.

Are the origins of the English, for example, as mysterious?  Why not?  Why should the origins of a historically important ethnie be inflated into a “mystery”?

The new analysis shows that Jewish ancestry reflects a mosaic of genetic sources.  While earlier studies focused on the Middle Eastern component of Jewish DNA, new research has revealed that both Europeans and Central Asians also made significant genetic contributions to Jewish ancestry.  Moreover, while the DNA studies have confirmed the close genetic interrelatedness of many Jewish communities, they have also confirmed what many suspected all along: Jews do not constitute a single group distinct from all others.

The last sentence is an opinion, a certain “spin” put on the data.  Even if a degree of genetic diversity exists within the worldwide Jewish population, that does not logically imply that this diverse group cannot be more similar to themselves than to the even more genetically distinct gentile populations of the world.  Jews may be both distinct and internally diverse.  After all, doesn’t “close genetic interrelatedness” suggest that at least the major Jewish populations constitute such a distinct entity?  Certainly, I’ll agree that outliers like the Ethiopian and Chinese Jews do not fall within this distinct group, but these outliers are a small minority of the overall Jewish population.

In examining Y chromosomal diversity in this review, two types of data are considered: Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), and Short Tandem Repeat Loci (STRs).  STR markers are characterized by mutation rates much higher than those seen with SNPs.  SNPs, on the other hand, are derived from rare nucleotide changes along the Y chromosome, so-called unique event polymorphisms (UEP).  These UEPs represent a single historical mutational event, occurring only once in the course of human evolution.  UEPs have been given a unified nomenclature system by the Y Chromosome Consortium (2002), resulting in the identification of each UEP with a particular haplogroup.

Halfway through this author’s breathless account of all the “haplotypes”, “haplogroups” and “sub-clades”, I wondered whether she really understands that the NRY (as well as mtDNA) behaves as a single locus, and that all the SNPs and STRs in question are being co-inherited as a single bloc?  The way this essay is written, someone may get the mistaken impression that all the SNPs and STRs analysed constitute different, independently inherited, alleles of multiple loci, which they do not.

While the Jews of today are connected historically and religiously to the Jews of ancient Israel, the DNA evidence also indicates that a significant amount of Jewish ancestry can be traced directly back to their Israelite/Middle Eastern ancestors…..Not only did the genetic researchers corroborate the oral history of an ancient Jewish priestly caste, but they also confirmed the genetic link between both Sephardic and Ashkenazi populations, indicating that before the two populations separated, those who shared the CMH also shared common Israelite ancestry.

That is a crucial point, one that cannot be “spun” out of existence.

The misinterpretation of the Cohanim results was damaging in some ways to the wider understanding of Jewish genetic ancestry.  For example, one widely published media quote went like this: “This genetic research has clearly refuted the once-current libel that Ashkenazi Jews are not related to the ancient Hebrews, but are descendants of the Kuzar (sic) tribe – a pre-10th century Turko-Asian empire which reportedly converted en masse to Judaism.”  Further, it was claimed that “[r]esearchers compared the DNA signature of the Ashkenazi Jews against those of Turkish-derived people, and found no correspondence” (Kleinman 1999).

Yes, but there was, and continues to be, a school of thought that says that the Ashkenazim are pure Khazars, with no Middle Eastern/Israelite blood at all.  The author should be honest enough to admit that the Khazar enthusiasts often promoted such an extreme doctrine and that the genetic data does refute that particular hypothesis.  The idea that some Khazar ancestry is found in the Ashkenazim is, in contrast, a reasonable assumption.

The rationale behind such conversion continues to both puzzle and fascinate historians – why would a people, despite political pressure from two great powers, chose a religion which had no support from any political power, but was rather persecuted by all?

Again, why was this group “persecuted by all”?  Facile comments and self-serving explanations are not going to solve this problem.

The Khazars are often described as “a people of Turkish stock”, although such description is misleading (Koestler 1976, p. 13).

Why is it misleading?  Because Koestler didn’t like the idea of Jews being derived from Turkic stock?

However, Koestler (1976, p. 22) cautions the reader not to place too much weight on this description, since it was customary among Turkish peoples to refer to the ruling classes as “white” and the lower clans as “black”.

Again, Koestler puts his “spin” on the facts.  I wonder, do Koestler and the author of this essay believe that the “fair complexion” Khazar description is accurate, but that the “black” Khazar description is such that we shouldn’t put “too much weight” on it?  Where do opinions end and facts begin?

It is clear that the Khazars were closely connected to the Huns, who themselves are an ethnic mystery.

JWH: Well, here, we can read:-

That the Huns came in great numbers cannot be questioned, and that they introduced a completely alien racial type onto European soil is vividly attested by the accounts of numerous contemporary historians, among whom may be mentioned Jordanes, Sidonus, Appolinaris, and Priscus. These authors unanimously describe the Huns as being short, broad shouldered, thick-set, swarthy, flat-nosed, slit-eyed, nearly beardless, and bandy-legged…

Bartucz finds two clearly differentiated mongoloid types in these cemeteries. The first, which he designates as type A,is dolicho- to mesocephalic with a mean index of 75.5 for the males and 77.0 for the females. These skulls are of great length and considerable size. The forehead is very narrow, the temples sharply curved, and the zygomatic arches laterally bowed. The occiput is narrow and conical at the end. From the side profile, the forehead appears exceptionally low and slanting. The vertex falls well back of bregma, and the profile is curved through the extent of its length. In the occipital region the line of neck muscle attachment forms a powerful torus…Type B is also purely mongoloid, but it is brachycephalic, with a mean index of 83 for both sexes …

It is not difficult to discover the Asiatic relationships of these two types.  Type A is found today among the living Tungus, and it has likewise a long history in Siberia, for it is found among many Siberian peoples, including Palaeasiatics, and it is characteristic of many of the Neolithic skulls excavated in the neighborhood of Lake Baikal.11 Type B belongs to the Mongol-speaking peoples, and is found in especial purity among the Buryats, who represent, culturally and probably racially, the Mongols before the time of their expansion …

A further light upon the physical characteristics of the Huns is shown by a study of Hunnish head hair, from graves of this period.  A sample of it is very fine, straight, and jet black.  In color and in form, this hair was classically mongoloid, but this fineness casts some doubt upon the generalization that all mongoloid hair must be coarse, especially since it has been shown that American Indian hair is very variable in this respect ...  The incontrovertible evidence of the Hungarian graves completely dispels the theory that the Huns may have been largely European in racial type.  If the Hiung-Nu were ancestors of the Nuns, then the early inhabitants of Mongolia were definitely mongoloid, and belonged to the two important racial elements present there today, the Tungus and the Mongol proper.  This throws the prehistory of central Asia into a clear and logical light.  It is exactly what one would expect.

A comparison of haplogroup Q among Altaians and Ashkenazi Jews was undertaken by Dienekes Pontikos (2004), who operates a respected website dedicated to the examination of anthropological, archaeological and genetic research.

This is an opinion. “Respected?”  By whom?  The author?  Is MajorityRights a “respected” website?  Why or why not?

However, the very frequency and repetitiousness of the promulgation of such laws are … indications of their ineffectiveness” (Patai 1989, p. 105).  Unfor-tunately, we do not have an accurate picture of the frequency of such sexual contact between Jews and Christians, since only those relatively few cases which led to criminal prosecution are known.  How-ever, Patai believes the number was significantly higher than that reported by the authorities.

Evidence?  Because Patai says so, so there!  “Patai believes…” – why that is clear evidence right there!  For some reason, the author has no problem in accepting these opinions along with the author’s statement above about the Jews resisting assimilation and the comment below concerning 500 years of endogamy.  I wonder - does the author consider a book entitled “The Myth of the Jewish Race” to be a dispassionate objective study of Jewish origins, rather than obfuscatory apologia?

Such prohibitions did not prevent such sexual contact among Christians and Jews; nor did it prevent Christians from converting to Judaism, individually and in groups, though it was probably much more common for Jews to convert or simply leave the Jewish community, given the significant oppression they faced in Europe.

And that “significant oppression” is due to what?

Frankly, the fact that Jews have substantial European ancestry is obvious to most onlookers – many Jews look like Europeans.

And many Jews do not.  And, what does the author mean by “… look like Europeans?”  Is this author – gasp! – implying that European-derived peoples have a distinctive look that separates them from other peoples?  Can’t have it both ways.

The question for DNA researchers was: How much of that European appearance actually translates into European genetic ancestry?

That question cannot be answered with the methodologies and studies discussed in this essay.

Patai (1989, pp. 16-17) argues that the Jews had never lived in sufficient reproductive isolation to have developed distinctive genetic features.

Apparently then, Tay Sachs and other Jewish genetic diseases are simply a figment of our imaginations.  As well, the specific Ashkenazi profile of verbal intelligence, so often discussed recently at Steve Sailer’s site, is another figment of our imagination.

Rather, he states that “all the available evidence indicates that throughout their history the Jews continually received an inflow of genes from neighboring populations as a result of proselytism, intermarriage, rape, the birth of illegitimate children fathered by Gentiles, and so on.

“..and so on.”  Very comprehensive and scientific, that.

There are clearly some problems with Patai’s hypothetical scenario.

Probably, the most reasonable and accurate sentence in the entire essay.

He cites various authors, including Cavalli-Sforza and Carmelli, who estimate such admixture rates to be approximately 40% for Ashkenazi Jews.

Right. If the 40% gentile European admixture is accepted, that means that the Ashkenazim are 60% non-European.  In contrast, current estimates for the European genetic component for Puerto Ricans and Mexicans is higher than 40%.  In any case, we need more data before accepting the 40% figure as being either too high or too low.

In the second Ashkenazi mtDNA study, Behar (2004a) attempted to answer the question of founder events among Ashkenazim posed by Thomas.  Unfortunately, it could be argued that this entire study is directed at convincing the reader that “Ashkenazi populations as a whole are genetically more similar to Near Eastern non-Jewish populations than to European non-Jewish populations…In order to prove this, a complex analysis regarding “mismatch distributions” between Jewish and non-Jewish populations is performed.  A careful reading, however, indicates that these mismatch calculations are based on a number of unfounded assumptions.

Why is “unfortunately” used in the second sentence above?  Why does the author think it “unfortunate” that a researcher, based on evidence, concludes that the Ashkenazim are more similar to Near Easterners than to Europeans?  Here, the author’s prejudices in favor of “Europeanized” Ashkenazim are on full display, and her bashing of the Behar work must be considered in this context.  In addition, she should concentrate her problems with “unfounded assumptions” on work other than that of Behar.

In regards to H1, Pereira (2005) states the following: H1 is almost exclusively European, with its only incursion into the Near East being a few Palestinian individuals bearing the most common
haplotype.  This absence of derived lineages in the Near East sample suggests that the H1 sub-clade had its origin in Europe. Therefore, while it appears the H1 among Ashkenazim is of probable European origin, the possibility of a Middle Eastern origin based on the Palestinian findings remains unresolved.

However, given that H1 does not occur in other reported Middle Eastern groups (Gulf States, Kurds) and in only low percentages in the Caucasus, a European origin for Ashkenazi H1 seems probable (Pereira et al. 2005)…  As to H3 among Ashkenazim, its provenance is almost certainly European, given that it occurs in none of the Middle Eastern groups, including Palestinians.  In fact, Pereira (2005) deemed H3 “exclusively European.

Gee…first we hear of people “looking like Europeans”, and now we hear of “exclusively European” genetic markers.  Interesting.

Thus, it appears that Ashkenazim obtained their H6 ancestry from European maternal founders, possibly Slavic or Khazarian in origin.

And now the Khazars are “European”?

The DNA studies have revealed a high degree of genetic interrelatedness among Ashkenazi groups, particularly among those of Eastern Europe.  This common ancestry can be attributed to a small founding population, coupled with rapid population growth and a high rate of endogamy over the past 500 years.

Hmmm … first a resistance to assimilation and now “... a high rate of endogamy over the past 500 years.”  But, according to Levy-Coffman and her hero Patai, the Ashkenazim are highly admixed with the Europeans they have been living amongst for the past 500 years, and earlier!  So which is it?  Resistance to assimilation and a half-millennium of endogamy, or all sorts of intermarriage and conversions and “so on?”  Or, does the author want us to believe that 500 years ago the Ashkenazim decided, “hey, we’ve been – contrary to our laws – mixing it up with the gentiles and intermarrying and so forth, but now let’s suddenly become endogamous.”  Is there any historical evidence of a sudden change from exogamy to endogamy 500 years
ago?  Or is the theory of significant exogamy and conversions and “so on” just “unfounded assumptions” based upon an over-interpretation of limited genetic data?

“DNA research has also revealed significant genetic links between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jewish populations, despite their separation for generations.  With the Cohanim study, researchers found a clear genetic connection between the Jewish priests and a shared Israelite ancestor from the past.  Additional genetic results suggest that the Ashkenazim can trace at least part of their ancestry to their Israelite forbearers.

Well, that at least is the one conclusion most consistent with all available data.

The examination of only a single component of Jewish ancestry has resulted in an incomplete and, to a certain extent, distorted presentation of the Jewish genetic picture.

Better to reword this and say that examination of single-locus markers have led to an incomplete and distorted view of the Jewish genetic picture.  Endlessly picking apart more and more data on these single loci is not going to answer the questions; it seems like researchers are approaching diminishing returns with such studies.

Diversity was present from Jewish beginnings, when various Semitic and Mediterranean peoples came together to form the Israelites of long ago.  The genetic picture was clearly enriched during the Diaspora, when Jews spread far and wide across Europe, attracting converts and intermarrying over time with their European hosts.  The most recent DNA evidence indicates that from this blending of Middle Eastern and European ancestors, the diverse DNA ancestry of the Ashkenazi Jews emerged.

There it is – enrichment by diversity.  That’s why Patai is embraced with only one minor critique, while Behar is viewed negatively.

Genetic studies of the future will hopefully clarify many of the remaining mysteries surrounding the origins and formation of the Ashkenazi communities.  For instance, the origins and distribution of the most common mtDNA haplogroup among Ashkenazim – haplogroup K – remains unexplored.  Additionally, tantalizing differences in the genetic makeup of western and eastern Ashkenazi populations remain to be fully investigated by DNA researchers.

That’s the problem.  More and more studies of singe locus haplogroups is not going to clarify anything.  Population geneticists have been endlessly mining the NRY and mtDNA to the exclusion of the rest of the genome for so long, some of them probably have forgotten that humans have gene sequences outside the Y chromosome and the mitochondria.  One day, population geneticists will rediscover the autosomal nuclear genome and that day will come none too soon.

Despite all the weaknesses of the extant genetic information on the Ashkenazim and other Jewish populations, and despite the problems with the Levy-Coffman review, I believe that the core, basic conclusion of the review – once all the “spin” is ignored – is essentially correct.

The core conclusion is that the Ashkenazim are a genetic mix of Middle Eastern, Asiatic, and European ancestries – and that the European component of this mixture is a decided minority (probably no more than 40%), although better and more thorough genetic testing is needed to actually quantify these ancestral proportions.  Thus, the so-called “European” Jews are a group quite distinct from, and quite unlike, the various indigenous (gentile) peoples of Europe.  Indeed, the Ashkenazim share with other major Jewish populations a significant, common Middle Eastern ancestry.

In some ways one can make an analogy between Jews and Hispanics.  Both groups have some degree of internal genetic (and phenotypic) variability, yet both groups, when viewed as an averaged entity, are distinct from other groups, and show important internal similarities as well as differences.  Just like different Hispanic groups share with each other a common foundation of Iberian ancestry, which is then, in the different groups admixed with varying proportions of Amerindian and/or African ancestries; so too do the different Jewish groups share amongst themselves a common foundation of a Middle Eastern/Israelite ancestry, which is then modified in the different groups by varying input of Central Asian, European, African/North African and other ancestries.  In addition, both Jews and Hispanics, despite the internal differences of each group, are also held together by cultural bonds.  For the Jews, it is their history as a people and their laws and religion; for the Hispanics it is the Spanish language and the melding of Old World and New World experiences and cultures.

In summary, it is wrong to say that the Jews are not a distinct people.  The Ashkenazim definitely are, with their unique history, origin from a small founding population, close genetic relatedness, and long period of endogamy.  They then also share with the Sephardim and other major Jewish populations a significant fraction of Middle Eastern/ Israelite ancestry, coupled with common traditions, culture, religious beliefs, etc.  Certainly, there are internal differences, but are these greater than that which unites them?

As a postscript I find it an interesting “coincidence” that the major conclusion here – that the Ashkenazim are a mix of Middle Eastern, Asiatic, and European stocks - “just happens” to match preliminary data produced by a certain “wrong” and “lousy” autosomal DNA test, that “just happened to” find the same ancestral components in a small sample of Ashkenazim.  Of course, perhaps – just perhaps – it is not a coincidence and the test is not “wrong” and “lousy.”  But this, as with many other things, will be revealed in the not too distant future, by the continued development of genetic assays and the data produced by them.



Posted by sr on Tue, 05 Jul 2005 19:35 | #

Thank you, Mr. Holliday, for a very informative and interesting post.


Posted by anothercommenter on Tue, 05 Jul 2005 20:09 | #

I want to play the devil’s advocate and see how you respond:
Non european caucasoids are closely related to european caucasoids.  Look at page 69, table 3.3 of Frank Salter’s On Genetic Interests.  He gives a replacement value (number of immigrants to reduce the genetic interest by one child) of 8.5 for Non european vs. European caucasoids.  If the Ashkenazi are half European origin and half Middle Eastern, then the replacement value becomes 17.  When looking at replacement values, lower numbers mean that each immigrant is more harmful to the genetic interests of the host country. 
To put the values in perspective, Czech vs. Italian is 16.6 and German vs. Greek is 9.9.  So then, it would be hard to make an argument on a purely genetic level to prohibit immigration of Ashkenazi into European populated countries. 
An additional argument in favor of viewing Jews as European is that the look European.  I’ve see commenters post South Africa’s old race classification laws on this site.  Essentially, those laws say if someone looks white, then they are white.  If you believe that is a fair way to classify people, then you must also classify Ashkenazi as Europeans.


Posted by anothercommenter on Tue, 05 Jul 2005 20:25 | #

There is something positive in your post.  The Huns are an example of a non-European people who emigrated to Europe and were not able to keep their foothold there.  Why did the Huns fail to maintain in Europe?  Let me put forth some suggestions:  No disease resistance.  The Huns were a nomadic people who never had to live in disease infested cities.  No alcohol resistance.  The strongest liquor they had was fermented yogurt.  Recall, how their genetic cousins, the Native Americans fell for our ‘firewater’.  Lastly, the native population outbred the invaders.  Anecdotally, the Hungerians are famous for hooking up.  In world sex surveys, the Hungerians come up at or on the top.


Posted by ben tillman on Tue, 05 Jul 2005 22:51 | #

In contrast, current estimates for the European genetic component for Puerto Ricans and Mexicans is higher than 40%.

Who is making these estimates?  Just judging by eye, Mexicans in Texas have more Sephardic blood than European.  And 40% (for Sephardic plus European) seems high.


Posted by ben tillman on Tue, 05 Jul 2005 22:58 | #

Frankly, the fact that Jews have substantial European ancestry is obvious to most onlookers – many Jews look like Europeans.

JWH’s response:  :And many Jews do not.  And, what does the author mean by ‘… look like Europeans?’”

That is the right question.  To reflect European ancestry is one thing; to be indistinguishable from Europeans is quite another.  A trained eye can distinguish virtually all Jews from Europeans.


Posted by Svigor on Wed, 06 Jul 2005 08:54 | #

A trained eye can distinguish virtually all Jews from Europeans.
This is testable using celebrities, and I agree; in my experience, Jews are pretty recognizable most of the time.


Posted by Svigor on Wed, 06 Jul 2005 09:01 | #

I mean American Jewry of course.  And I can’t really tell the difference between Jews and other peoples of Semitic blood, except by guessing using European admixture as a yardstick.


Posted by JW Holliday on Wed, 06 Jul 2005 09:17 | #


My opinion is that the South African race classification scheme was moronic and subjective, resulting in idiocies such as this.

Thus, since I disagree with their system, I will not accept the idea that “Ashkenazim who ‘look European’ are to be accepted as European.”  What happens as well, if, analogous to the Laing situation, one Ashkenazim “looks European”, while his full sibling “looks Middle Eastern?” Does one brother get accepted while the other does not?

With respect to Salter and your calculations: yes, but first, the chart was included in Salter’s book for illustrative purposes; Salter himself says that more fine-grained genetic assays would be helpful to get a better idea of genetic interests.  Second, as discussed here previously, Salter’s work ignores the genetic interests inherent in genetic structure, and doesn’t delve into adaptive genetic interests too much either.

Based on the crude Cavalli-Sforza data, the relative genetic distances based on gene frequencies may be as you say, but why should a European nation wish to import any substantial number of Middle Eastern-Central Asian-European hybrids, who have a distinctly non-European genetic structure?  Third, as you allude to, the decision to let in a person or group may be modified by considerations other than purely their own gene frequencies.  What will be the net effect on majority genetic interests?  If the Ashkenazim are going to use their intelligence and group coherence to promote their own group interests to the detriment to the native ethny - including by promoting mass immigration that will damage the genetic interests of the native ethny - then it may be wise to be skeptical of the immigration of such people.

To put it in cruder terms: to an Anglo-American, it would seem that damage to genetic interests would go like this - Tom Tancredo > George W. Bush, based purely on personal genetic terms.  But given Bush’s open borders, amnesty for illegal aliens policy - the Bush extended phenotype damages Anglo-American genetic interests, while the immigration restrictionist Tancredo helps boost said genetic interests.  Thus, in reality damage to Anglo-American genetic interests is Bush >>>> Tancredo.

Of course, the average person has no real influence on policy, so for “John Doe”, the masses, genetic interest effects track well with personal genetic structure. The Ashkenazim, as a group, however, are extremely influential on national policy, so this must be considered as a factor. In other words, the Ashkenazim situation is more like Bush vs Tancredo, than it is like just comparing two average Joes walking down the street.


I agree with you; it seems like the genetic studies on Hispanics really cannot distinguish between different kinds of Caucasian (as compared to European) ancestry.  Thus, more data are needed.  My point though remains in that the Ashkenazim situation is roughly analogous to that of Hispanics.


Posted by Amman on Wed, 06 Jul 2005 10:41 | #

Yes, but there was, and continues to be, a school of thought that says that the Ashkenazim are pure Khazars, with no Middle Eastern/Israelite blood at all.  The author should be honest enough to admit that the Khazar enthusiasts often promoted such an extreme doctrine and that the genetic data does refute that particular hypothesis.

This has piqued my interest—I find it hard to believe that anyone with even a slight familiarity with Ashkenazi history could believe that there’s not a trace of Middle Eastern blood in that population. JW, just who bought into that idea? Was it very common among population genticists or something? I was surprised to hear that an extreme “pure Khazar” doctrine had much of a following, honestly.


Posted by JW Holliday on Wed, 06 Jul 2005 12:40 | #


It wasn’t population geneticists who promoted the 100% Khazar theory; instead it was mostly Christian “anti-semites” who popularized that.

What happened is that there were (and are) many people who dislike Jews while, at the same time, fervently believing in the Old Testament and admiring Moses etc.  This cognitive dissonance is “solved” by stating that the Ashkenazim of today are “derived from the Khazars without a drop of the ancient Israelite blood.”  Silly, yes, but there you go. 

It gets more strange with some of the “Christian Identity” doctrines, which state that the real descendants of the Israelites are the British peoples.  Now, I don’t want to unduly attack anyone’s religious beliefs, but I don’t see any viable historical, genetic, or anthropolgical evidence that says that the tribes of Israel migrated to the British Isles in biblical times, and that the British people are genetically derived from the Middle East. 

Now, on the flip side, there were some Jews I knew in college who promoted the idea that there was no ethnic component to Judaism; in other words, the Ashkenazim are simply Germans and Poles and Russians who practice Judaism.  That is equally absurd, and I wonder if the people who said it really believed it.  These are people who definitely did not look German or Slavic, and people whose own parents would not even consider a practicing Jew with a non-Jewish mother to be a “real Jew”. 

Ms Levy-Coffman is correct in saying that Jewish identity is a complex combination of ethnic and cultural factors, each of importance.


Posted by JW Holliday on Wed, 06 Jul 2005 13:33 | #

This may not be directly relevant.  But indirectly it is.  I am presuming that by ‘reconstructing the genome’ they mean the entire genome, the nuclear genome, not just mtDNA.

if so, that means it is technically feasible to reconstruct the nuclear genome of ancient remains.

Thus, autosomal DNA testing of ancient human remains may be possible with all that can tell us of the relatiionships of ancient and modern peoples.  For example, ancient Israelites vs modern Jews.

I’d be extremely curious as well if a DNAPrint test would work on a Neandertal specimen - or are they too different -
and what the results would be.


Posted by Amman on Wed, 06 Jul 2005 16:38 | #

What happened is that there were (and are) many people who dislike Jews while, at the same time, fervently believing in the Old Testament and admiring Moses etc.  This cognitive dissonance is “solved” by stating that the Ashkenazim of today are “derived from the Khazars without a drop of the ancient Israelite blood.” Silly, yes, but there you go. 

Ahh, I see. This actually reminds me of a White Nationalist preacher I read about…I think his name was William Butler or something. He also didn’t think the Ashkenazic Jews were the ones in the Bible, but he said the Aryans were the true Jews! Truly bizarre. I suppose both he and the other “Christian anti-semites” you describe are a solid demonstration of how religiousity can stand in the way of actual scientific thinking…


Posted by Amman on Wed, 06 Jul 2005 17:00 | #

*er, make that Richard Butler.


Posted by Skye on Wed, 06 Jul 2005 17:58 | #

What would the autosomal DNA look like of a woman with a mother half Scandinavian on the female side, half Armenian, half Assyrian on the mother’s father’s side and a Scots-English dad whose mom was from Crete?

This daughter has light ash blonde hair, green/hazel eyes,thin, fair freckled skin, average height, and from several family members of Unitarians. My nine grandchildren have dark blue eyes or gray eyes and light brown hair or medium brown hair, like my daughter’s husband. My daughter has blue/gray eyes, light brown/honey blonde hair, and very fair pink skin with some freckles.

The mixture here would be Northern European/Southern European/East European/Assyrian/Armenian/Crete/Scots.My husband is English.

Could you tell this autosomal DNA from anyone else who was a mixture of European/Middle Eastern/East Asian?

I took a racial percentages test and came out 97 percent European and 3 percent East Asian. No African and No Native American. What am I? I’m usually told by Italians that I look Italian, even though I’m blonde/wavy haired.


Posted by Old American on Thu, 07 Jul 2005 00:24 | #

<i>As a postscript I find it an interesting “coincidence” that the major conclusion here – that the Ashkenazim are a mix of Middle Eastern, Asiatic, and European stocks - “just happens” to match preliminary data produced by a certain “wrong” and “lousy” autosomal DNA test, that “just happened to” find the same ancestral components in a small sample of Ashkenazim. </i>

This lousy autosomal DNA test also just happens to “detect” a South Asian component in the Irish. The cheerleading for DNAprint is uncalled for.

While DNAprint prove even incompetent geneticists can correctly tell Nigerians from Englishmen (the non-visually impaired can already do this, faster and cheaper), their test is not suitable for determining low level admixture, and the “EURO” test looks like outright garbage.

I wondered whether she really understands that the NRY (as well as mtDNA) behaves as a single locus, and that all the SNPs and STRs in question are being co-inherited as a single bloc?

Of course, lack of recombination is exactly why the NRY can be studied the way it is.

A biallelic polymorphism on the Y chromosome points to a discrete mutation that occurred in an individual modern human. If two populations share a set of Y SNPs, they share a common direct male ancestor. The absolute timing and the significance of the common ancestry may be up for debate, but the fact of the common ancestor is not.

The meaning of shared autosomal SNPs is less clear (considering the typically much greater time depth, recombination, selection). The information is there, no question. It just awaits a serious researcher to sort it out. Mark Shriver is not that researcher. Maybe someone involved in the gc-hyped HapMap project is. We’ll see.


Posted by JW Holliday on Thu, 07 Jul 2005 09:34 | #

Old American,

This lousy autosomal DNA test also just happens to “detect” a South Asian component in the Irish. The cheerleading for DNAprint is uncalled for. While DNAprint prove even incompetent geneticists can correctly tell Nigerians from Englishmen (the non-visually impaired can already do this, faster and cheaper), their test is not suitable for determining low level admixture, and the “EURO” test looks like outright garbage.

You, as is common for critics of DNAP, mistake the name given to certain genetic affiliations with the ethnic groups with the same name.  One could also criticize DNAP for not making the point clearer, but they <i>do<i> state on their website that they as yet do not know the exact origins of the gene frequency patterns that they name “Northern European”, “South-Eastern European”, “South Asian”, and “Middle Eastern”, only that these gene frequencies are representative of some specific genetic component especially characteristic of the population so named.  The fact that Irish have a low level of South Asian means that there is some low level overlap between ancestries of these 2 groups.  What exactly it is, is not yet determined, but it does NOT mean there has been any historical South Asian admixture in the Irish.  It may reflect extremely ancient migrations, or very deep ancestries, that need to be sorted out.

Since the ancestral percentages of different groups differ, on average, and that these data are not random (see below), then they contain information.  The challenge is to understand and interpret the information, not reject it outright because it is too complex for some to understand; or, perhaps, because the data are different from what some wish they would otherwise be.

Keep in mind as well that DNAP openly notes that low levels of affiliation may be not statistically significant, or borderline.

Juvenile sarcasm about the “non-visually impaired” fail to acknowledge the fact that the DNAPrint data can, in general, distinguish between certain patterns of genetic affiliations at a level much narrower than Nigerians vs. Englishmen.  Given a particular pattern of ancestry, a reasonable guess can be made as to the origin of the person.  Someone who has a EURO result of 30% NE, 30% SEE, 30% ME, and 10% SA is likely to be an Ashkenazim, someone who is 80% NE and 20% other is likely to be a Northwest European, someone one is 45% NE and 45% SEE and 10% other is likely to be a Southwest European, and someone who is 70% SEE and 15% NE and 15% other is likely to be a SEE European.  As has been demonstrated, the ABD 2.5 test can distinguish between Filipinos with different levels of Asian vs. European ancestries, which “just happens to” match their phenotypes, etc.

Comments like “the “EURO” test looks like outright garbage” do not impress. Anyone can make facile comments in criticism of anything.  The EURO test detects a gradient of NE and SEE ancestries in Europe that track very well with the Paleolithic/Neolithic divide.  It detects an elevated Middle-Eastern component in Ashkenazim.  It detects a east to west gradient of Middle Eastern ancestry; in fact, most of the gradients are quite reasonable, given population histories.

If the test was “wrong” and “garbage” then there would be no such gradients and correlations.  Jews would all test as 90% NE, and Greeks would be heavily South Asian, and it would be the Irish, and not the Italians, who test as a mix of SEE and NE.  In other words, minority affiliation distributions would be random, with no correlation with known population histories and genetic data, eg, the NE/SEE matches in general the first component of European genetic variation described by Cavalli-Sforza.

Yes, the NRY data can give information on common male ancestors, but as you suggest, the meaningfulness of thei information is limited.  And, as the Levy-Coffman essay describes, one can find “strange” results with NRY as well.

I’ll agree that Mark Shriver is not, in my opinion, sufficiently competent and objective.  But this does not logically imply that the DNAP test is bad.  Nor should we ignore the fact that the test can be improved, and will be improved if the company survives and prospers.

Finally, a challenge: we can compare the racial characteristics of people with DNAPrint results and with NRY data and see what gives the best match.  With guys like Rick Kittles getting “Germanic” NRY, and ghetto Negroes who look like Mike Tyson getting matches with Dolph Lundgren, I have no doubt of the outcome.


Posted by JW Holliday on Thu, 07 Jul 2005 09:43 | #

Rather than stressing alleged selection in autosomal markers, esp. ‘neutra;’ markers, one wonders about the NRY as well

Dienekes has posted about selection in mtDNA as well.


Posted by JW Holliday on Thu, 07 Jul 2005 17:44 | #

Let’s look at ABD 2.5 results of particular pictured people.  Now, since the full photo database is only available for forensic customers this analysis must be essentially anecdotal, on a few samples.  So, first look here, at the Blind Study section.

We see 10 people pictured and their ABD2.5 data.  #4 looks like a fine white fellow, with a European rating.  #1 is white, with a statistically insignificant minority affiliation, essentially equivalent to #4.  #7 is white with borderline Asian affiliation.  She has a slight epicanthic fold.  #5 and 6 are African American, predominantly African but - especially for #6 – not pure-looking West African.  They both have minority Caucasian, a bit more with the lighter, less African-looking #6.  #2,3 and 9 are Filipinos, with the percentage of East Asian ancestry matching phenotype well.  #9, with the highest East Asian percentage, can pass as South Chinese.  The first Filipino male looks highly admixed.

The predominant admixture here is Caucasian, in islands with a known Spanish influx.  #8 and 10 are Mexican, with #8 a mestiza with the correct DNAP profile, and the highly admixed-looking #10 having a genetic profile matching appearance.  The East Asian affiliation in #10 probably overlaps with Native American, and the Native American in the Filipinos is probably Asian origin.  There is known overlap between those categories in DNAP testing where the affiliation is minority, not majority.

In the photo database section we see a darker white guy, predominantly Caucasian with elevated African and borderline Asian.  His phenotype can be compared to #4 in the Blind Study.  The dark South Asian is highly admixed as expected (here Native American is again almost certainly Asian) and the Black-Mulatto woman has a profile similar to #6 in the Blind Study.  If the test was “wrong and lousy” one would expect not this data fit but more random results.  Attacking the DNAP test for low levels of South Asian in the Irish, when the genetic identity of South Asian affiliation is not known, seems to me gratuitous.  As the ABD website says:

“…we do not exactly understand the precise genetic origins of NOR, MED, MIDDEAS or SA identity.”

So South Asian represents a gene frequencies found at their highest level in South Asian populations, but found at lower level in others.  Why, then, assume a priori that a finding of low levels of SA in Irish is “wrong” and the test “garbage”?  A test that was really “wrong garbage” would be producing more or less random minority affiliations and making no sense. 

Once one accepts:-

1) The tests have difficulty distinguishing low levels of East Asian from low levels of Native America, and, in Old World people, Native American almost assuredly translates into Central Asian, a finding perhaps consistent with the haplogroup Q mystery discussed by Levy-Coffman.

2) Some of the data on the web-site are based on very small sample sizes.  Probably, the Middle Eastern component in the Northern European is sampled heavily from one individual, and would be lower otherwise.

3) The names DNAP gives categories do not always translate exactly to subject.

4) Ethnic categories are vague and DNAP does not tell us from where in Turkey the Turks were sampled, where in Italy the Italians, etc.

The data fit in very well, in general, to known genetic gradients.  The levels of NE and SEE differ on a rough NW/SE axis (though many more data points are needed).  Non-European admixture, on average, is a bit higher in the South of Europe than North.  Euro-Americans have more non-white affiliation, on average, than Europeans, and it is mostly Afr and NAM.  Ashkenazim have elevated Middle Eastern, that component declining in a gradient from the Persian Gulf to Saudi Arabia to Ashkenazim to Turkey.  Caucasian admixture/affiliation is higher in Southeast Asia compared to Northeast Asia, while South Asians have marked East Asian influence - probably due to local gene swapping across the Caucasian/Mongoloid divide.  For African Americans the major minority admixture is Caucasian, for Puerto Ricans it is African – consistent with the literature.  If “wrong” and random, why don’t Blacks and Puerto Ricans show predominant East Asian minority admixture?

Patterns are clear, and some anomalies may be due to small sample size or just statistically insignificant results.  Rather than questioning ‘cheerleading’ for the test, it would be proper to wonder why the majority positive aspects of the test are ignored in favor of nitpicking and emphasis on the occasional “odd’ result, which are found in NRY and mtDNA testing as well.

We need more people tested and better, more fine-grained autosomal tests from DNAP and/or others, and maybe we can find out why certain groups are characterized by certain profiles.  It is not the test that is “lousy garbage”.


Posted by JW Holliday on Thu, 07 Jul 2005 17:49 | #

Is Shanker Polish?

Gee, I think that even many of the visually impaired could distinguish this dark South Asian from all his NRY “relatives” in Europe.

One hopes our friend Shankie gets a DNAPrint test.  Who wants to bet that his DNAP EURO results will be clearly distinguished from that of a Pole or any other European, with virtually no overlap whatsoever?

If having a common male ancestor means an inability to distingish dark-skinned South Asians from blonde Poles, then it seems that “lousy garbage” may be a
fitting description for NRY testing ...


Posted by JW Holliday on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 05:28 | #

It is interesting - when Europeans overlap their NRY (or mtDNA) with South Asians, Central Asians, or any other nonwhites, there are no calls for delegitimizing those tests; no “lousy” or “garbage” when Siberians and Scandinavians, or Indians and Poles, get the same same NRY results.  But, if low levels of autosomal overlap is detected - even when the precise origin of the gene frequencies are not known - that is seemingly sufficient to get anti-DNAPers all worked up.  Strange.

One could make a few thought experiments.  Imagine you had 100 unidentified males of varying ethnic origins, and you had to “bin” them into their correct categories.  You had to choose between NRY data and DNAPrint data to make the correct matches.  I think those who pick DNAP would have a significantly higher success rate than those who use NRY (or mtDNA).  I see that as a given.  Or - 100 pictures of African American men, one would match better with phenotype, NRY or DNAPrint?  Or imagine that the “Hapmappers” or some other group come up with a different autosomal test.  Would NRY match that test’s results better than DNAP?  I doubt that.  In fact I doubt that an alternate test would give results significantly different from that of DNAP.  One may expect differences in percentages +/- to some degree, and those results that are not statistically significant in one test may not show up in the other.  But I doubt that someone who tests as 70% NE and 30% SEE in DNAPrint would test as half South Asian and half Middle Eastern in another test, etc.

I just don’t see any clear evidence that the DNAP data is grossly wrong, even for measures of minority affiliation.  Just as long as statistical significance is remembered.

I think that the validity of the test would be bolstered if they released the photo database results.  But, if they made those public, they then wouldn’t have any reason to charge the forensics customers $1000 ...

I’ll agree on one thing: “We’ll see.”  I’m confident that the DNAP test will prove to be robust.  Certainly more so that NRY tests that cannot distinguish Gunga Din from Leif Erickson.


Posted by JW Holliday on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 08:11 | #

A further clarification on EURO.  The 4 categories in the DNAP EURO test do not precisely test for actual total ancestry from the 4 groups in question.  That is quite clear when combining the ABD2.5 and EURO results for particular groups.  For example, the tested South Asians end up being only ~ 50% “South Asian.”  Thus, “South Asian” does not represent South Asian ethnic ancestry per se, but simply the major genetic component of said ancestry.

What the 4 categories test for is the predominant genetic component of each group - which, as DNAP indicates on their website, was empirically determined.  Now, what is the principal component for one group (eg, South Asians) may be a minor component of another group (eg, Irish).

Since South Asians and Europeans can share the NRY group R1a - which some scientists think originated in South Asia and was brought to Europe through migration - I fail to see why having Europeans and South Asians share a small bit of autosomal gene frequencies is somehow outrageous and indicative of a “lousy” test.  If EURO is “wrong garbage” in that regard, then NRY must be as well.

The same goes with the “outrageous” finding of “Native American” in Jews, given the group Q NRY data discussed in the Jewish ancestry essay by Ellen Levy-Coffman.


Posted by Fred Scrooby on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 09:25 | #

How is the birth of the Negro girl to white parents explained (story linked in the first sentence of JW Holliday’s comment of 7/6, 1:17 PM)?  I imagine in only one of two ways:  either her mother was fooling around with a Negro man and the interpretation of the blood-typing test the girl took was mistaken, or somewhere among the white mother’s or father’s (presumably both) recent forebears was Negro ancestry?

About the theory that Ashkenazi Jews descend largely from the non-Semitic Khazars, a Turkic tribe known to have converted to Judaïsm during the early middle ages, that idea was first brought before a wide audience by Jewish author Arthur Koestler through his excellent book, <u>The Thirteenth Tribe</u>, published in the mid-80s.  It may even have originated with him as a fleshed-out theory in coherent, plausible form.  Koestler, a good writer and thinker (except he was afflicted with the Jewish disease, Marxism, in his younger years), also wrote <u>Darkness at Noon</u> (the story of how his Marxism got cured), <u>The Sleepwalkers</u>, an excellent book about the age of the Copernican and Keplerian revolutions, and a book of his I chose not to read because I feared it might be some sort of bizarre, mystical attempt to promote Lamarckianism, <u>The Case of the Midwife Toad</u> (which I may go ahead and read after all, since I suspect it may deal with the same sort of legitimate questions of control mechanisms of gene expression which <u>John Hawks</u> deals with <u>here</u> and <u>here</u>).


Posted by JW Holliday on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 10:35 | #


Apparently, DNA testing showed that the girl was the child of the father in question.  If that is the case, I assume both parents had signficant levels of African ancestry (eg, 15%, 20%, 25% or more?) without showing very obvious phenotypic signs of said ancestry.  The girl would have inherited a substantial portion of African-derived genes coding for phenotype from both parents; hence the physical appearance.  I’ve seen the same in Puerto Ricans - parents looking approximately white with kids looking clearly mulatto, with no doubt - showing Negro facial features and brown skin.

One can wonder how frequent in the white South African population are individuals who carry sufficient levels of African ancestry to produce a clearly colored child (like Sandra Laing) if mated with another person of similar genetic background.  Autosomal genetic testing - like the DNAP tests - could help answer that.  A reason, I suppose, for white South Africans and others to oppose such testing.


Posted by ben tillman on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 12:01 | #

Apparently, DNA testing showed that the girl was the child of the father in question.

That is not possible.  DNA testing cannot prove paternity.


Posted by Fred Scrooby on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 13:26 | #

The paternity test she took in the 60s was, I’d guess, a simple blood-group analysis, a test that can rule individuals out as the biological father but can’t rule them in.  My impression of this case would be the mother was fooling around behind the husband’s back, either with a Negro or a mixed-race individual.


Posted by JW Holliday on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 18:01 | #


I really don’t understand your comment.  DNA testing for paternity is a common practice; there are a huge number of companies that offer such services, for example dnadimensions.

If what you mean is that the test may be 99.9% accurate, rather than 100% and foolproof, perhaps that cannot be argued.  But paternity can be reasonably assayed with confidence.  This is the first time I have heard otherwise.


Posted by JW Holliday on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 18:03 | #

See here.

Now, it is possible that testing in Laing’s youth was not as accurate as today, but I see no theoretical problem with either:-

1) the concept of paternity testing,

2) that two “pass as white” mulattoes could produce a brown child.


Posted by JW Holliday on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 18:06 | #

3 questions ...

1) is DNA paternity testing of near 100% accuracy available now?

2) was it available in the 60s?

3) was Sandra Laing the biological child of the alleged father?

#1 is yes.  #2, it is certain that any testing back in the 60s would have been rather crude. 

Thus, question #3 I admit remains uncertain.  Family members (eg, siblings) would need to be tested now to try and recreate the family structure.  However, anyone who has read Stoddard on Haiti will remember the case of the couple in the mulatto class who were described with a very fair complexion and European features, and no negro blood for 6 generations - but they produced an obviusly mixed, dark child.  Perhaps paternity was questionable there.  But one can observe cases (eg, Hispanics) where the child is “less white” than either parent.  Given that phenotypic traits are multiallelic, and recombination occurs each generation, it is not impossible for children to be “darker” than the parents - although the opposite is much more frequent.

The point remains that the South African system would allow for errors, of which the Laings may be an example.  Would Colin Powell’s son be classified as “white” under that system?  Vin Diesel?  Mariah Carey today (her year-book photo clearly shows strong Negro appearance.  Does anyone know if she has had facial plastic surgery?  I still think she looks like a quadroon or octoroon even now)?

This goes back to the question of whether an Ashkenazim who “looks European” (however defined) should be accepted as such, even if they are, for example, genetically identical to Yasser Arafat.  The SA system would say “yes”; I would differ.


Posted by Fred Scrooby on Fri, 08 Jul 2005 21:19 | #

“3) was Sandra Laing the biological child of the alleged father?”

Twenty-three years ago when I was in Europe there was a push by some groups to get each person’s blood type printed on his identity card in case of medical emergency in the street or something (it was in Belgium; every person there was normally required to carry an identity card issued by the government).  A university professor of obstetrics and gynecology said (not publicly) that people could rest assured no law requiring blood-types on identity cards would ever be passed because from four to seven percent of all children born there to married couples weren’t fathered by the legal dad, and in too many cases the impossibility of paternity would show at a glance from blood types, leading to divorce and family turmoil.

Clearly, hanky-panky goes on that wives don’t admit to.  Just as clearly, in lots of these cases where a child of “the wrong race” is born to a married couple it’s the result of hanky-panky which the wife doesn’t wish to acknowledge rather than some abstruse genetic phenomenon or extremely unlikely chance event that beat the billion-to-one odds or whatever it’s supposed to be.


Posted by ben tillman on Sat, 09 Jul 2005 13:35 | #

JW -

All that DNA testing can do is provide a basis for an estimate of the number of possible fathers, i.e., how likely a randomly selected man would be to fit the necessary profile.  E.g., it can provide the basis for an estimate that only one in 100 (or one in a million, or whatever) men have the DNA profile consistent with what the father must have had.  If only one in a million men have the requisite profile, then you have narrowed the group of potential fathers down to roughly 3,000 if there are 3 billion men in the world.  That’s all DNA testing can do.  It can’t prove paternity; it can exclude a certain percentage of the male population.  Thus, it can say that it would be a hell of a coincidence if the accused fits the profile but is not the father.


Posted by JW Holliday on Sat, 09 Jul 2005 15:04 | #

I acknowledge Fred’s point; in point of fact, we do need confirmation of Laing’s ancestry.  That does not however go against the fact that “reversions to type” or “throwbacks” can occur in highly admixed families and ethnies, as combinations of genes at least partially recreate a more “non-white, darker, genetically dominant” phenotype from parents who are whiter and lighter.

But all of this is getting a bit away from the original point - that the South African system was not ideal.  At the time, there may have been some excuse, but today, there is not.  And, going past all these technical comments about genetics and DNA testing and Laing, we get to the core point of the initial post - that even Levy-Coffman, with what I see as an agenda to “Europeanize” and “de-Middleeasternize” (relatively speaking) the Ashkenazim, admits that that ethnic group is a complex almagam of Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and European ancestries - and that the latter component may well be a minority of the ancestry (~ 40%?).


Posted by JW Holliday on Sun, 10 Jul 2005 10:39 | #


What you say is technically correct.  But, given that the woman in question would have access to only an incredibly small fraction of the world’s male population, a paternity test result that is 99.9% or so correct can give the prospective father a reasonable degree of confidence.  This could be further supplemented by other DNA tests.  For example, a male child will have the same NRY as the father.  Of course, since NRY cannot specifically distinguish Poles from South Asians, or African-Americans from Englishmen - all that would be looked for here is *confirmation* that the father and son share the same Y, in order to supplement the standard paternity tests.  In other words, a match doesn’t mean much other than to confirm other information, but a mismatch means there is a problem.


Posted by UC on Sat, 18 Mar 2006 21:28 | #

The Sandra Laing story is false.

She and Abraham Laing did not undergo a DNA test, they underwent a blood typing test (the only thing available in the 1960s), and blood typing tests prove next to nothing!

Paternity Testing and Blood Types

Using the ABO and Rh blood systems for determination of paternity is not conclusive and absolute, it is only predictive at best.

The limitations of the ABO system are clear: There are only four different blood types under this system, and two of these (A and O) are carried by a huge majority of the population. This clearly means that in many cases, even if the blood type of the father matches correctly, it does not provide any kind of proof that he is the father.


Today no one would ever consider blood typing as reliable evidence for paternity:

DNA testing WAS NOT available until the 1980s!

This link will explain the genetics of skin inheritence:

Either Sandra Laing’s mother slept with a Black gentleman or there was a mix-up at the hospital.


Posted by adam moft on Mon, 04 Feb 2008 07:36 | #

Now in 2007 we know that Haplogroup K is also European and K1 of the Ashkenazim is only found in Polish Roma People outside the Ashkenazim.

So we have 3 kinds of chromosomes: The Autosomal (50% from Male 50% from Female) the Mitochondrial (Maternal Lineage only) and the Y chromosome (Paternal lineage only).

Now the Autosomal testing (started in 2007!) showed Ashkenazim are closer match to South European (Italian) than to Eastern European (Russia) and least match (2%) to Middle Eastern.

Mitochondrial mtDNA is overwhelmingly (K1, H1, H3, H6 exclusively Europpean).

Y DNA ( only less than 15% J1 in all Jews!-J1 is the only haplogroup considered semitic).

So nothing is left. It is official:

Current Jews are not the ancient Israelites and they are not descendents of Abraham!!!

Koestler was right, Most Jews are the Magogite Khazars!


Posted by Realist on Tue, 26 Jan 2010 10:17 | #

Arkhams Razor: Which seems more likely?

One or the other parent of Sandra Laing had a latent gene floating around and blah blah blah blah
Her mother slept around?


Posted by Edward Demiraiakian on Mon, 27 Jun 2011 14:03 | #

All you people interested in the origins of the Jews should read the article “Hurro Armenian Origins of Abraham” by John Ahmaranian.
It will answer most of your questions. The Hurrians were and are all over the middle east. Abraham, if you believe is the father of the Jewish race, than his genetic makeup will explain the European genes among the Jews. You have to know your history in order to properly interpret DNA results. I always suspected that racism drove much of the Jewish origin debate. Read the above extremely scholarly work, well documented. I was impressed. As far as the Kazars being Turkish, or the Jews being of Turkish origin; I am surprised that a well educated ethnic group like the Jews who pride themselves for scholarly research can accept such theory. I can only suspect that such theories are proposed by political interests, manipulating for their own purposes. Those interests all seem centered in Turkey, who according to their pseudo historians claim that everyone is of Turkish origin. American Indians, Jews, including their own populations. Truth be told, the Turkish population in Turkey has less than 10 % Turkish genes.


Posted by Edwin on Sat, 09 Jun 2012 15:31 | #

It is well known, but not often mentioned, why Arthur Koestler stated he wrote THE THIRTEENTH TRIBE. He believed that by “proving” the modern Jews were not descendants of the ancient Jews that the Jewish community would not be persecuted any longer for their alleged role in the killing of Christ. He thought he was helping his fellow Jews.


Posted by Pat McDonald on Fri, 12 Oct 2012 07:18 | #

I find this a useful crique, but I don’t think it’s very constructive EXCEPT for pointing out the very small data sample size.

I for one would welcome a widespread comparison between current “Israeli”, “non-Israeli”, and other gene-pools to see if the claims of Israelis have a genetic basis.

I suspect that most Israelis would not seek that, as scientific evidence would undermine cultural, political, diplomatic, and military efforts to preserve their status.


Posted by Christian Sean the Catholic Ashkenazi on Thu, 26 Sep 2013 20:01 | #

Born in Cincinnati of a little German grandmother who (rarely) spoke of rumors about a German Jew convert back in the line. Had my DNA sequenced in 2013. The map on (maternal, haplogroup) shows Middle Eastern, Central Asian and a clear imprint of (modern-day) Israeli inhabitents as of ca. 1500. So I’m not emotionally invested, but can someone email me or respond to this about the potentially big deal. I’m gay, so I love drama. Just kidding, but the other stuff is true. L’cheim, or whatever.


Posted by Desmond Jones on Sat, 28 Sep 2013 01:57 | #

It appears the 23andme result matches the Khazarian hypothesis, although it has since been refuted, apparently. Of course the Rhineland hypothesis appears unable to deal with the population explosion issue “estimated at 1.7–2%, one order of magnitude larger than that of Eastern European non-Jews in the 15th–17th centuries.”

If the Ashkenazis, 90% of the US Jewish population, are descended from a mass conversion in and migration from the Caucasas, where they further mixed with Slavs, then it makes Jews European, not so ethnocentric and a big problem for WNs and Zionists alike.


Posted by Ashkenazi from muslim Republic Azerbaijan on Sun, 05 Jan 2014 23:00 | #

Born in Azerbaijan (my grandpa as well) Azerbaijan is muslim part of former Soviet Union
Climate make great changes !
My dad (23andme shows 96% Ashkenazi) and most Ashkenazi People in Azerbaijan looks Armenians or italians ( I realized about italians later) You guys can not distigvish between Ashkenazi person and Armenian However my greatgrandpa was looks european (came from Poland to Azerbaijan)
Old Origin of Ashkenazi and Sefardi people are Aramaic people (Aram Naharaim and Aram Damesek) Lavan was Aramaic and Abraham was Aramaic Read Bible !
However Jews married lots of Greek and Latin women and so-called Roman Jews are converts made a some mix
Some jews has Balkan origin Y-chromosome i2 i2b i2a2b

It is interesting to see McDonald data shows 3/4 Ashkenazi (friend of mine) goes close to Toscans (Italian) and 1/2 Ashkenazi with 1/2 Slavic close to Romanians. By the way some italian people was made of Israelites (judeain slaves become local population in some areas of Italy)

P.S. most khazars after collapse of Khazaria become muslim simply tatars of Crimea or Kazan
Khazaria itself was multi religion only Elite was Jewish If Ashkenazi Jews were at least 1/2 khazars lots of khazarian words would be in Yiddish however it is not TRUE ! Yiddish documents from 16 century dos not show anything khazarian


Posted by Ashkenazi from muslim Republic Azerbaijan on Sun, 05 Jan 2014 23:16 | #

Interesting Add-on


Posted by Ashkenazi from muslim Republic Azerbaijan on Mon, 06 Jan 2014 23:10 | #

    The Samaritans are an ancient northern population of historic Israel, where they are historically well identified since at least the 4th century BC. They define themselves as the descendants of tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (two tribes from the Tribe of Joseph) living in the Kingdom of Israel before its destruction in 722 BC. For them, the Jews are the descendants of the Israelites from ancient southern kingdom of Judah (and Jerusalem).

  A 2004 study by Shen et al. compared the Y-DNA and DNA-mt Samaritans of 12 men with those of 158 men who were not Samaritans, divided between 6 Jewish populations (Ashkenazi origin, Moroccan, Libyan, Ethiopian, Iraqi and Yemeni) and 2 non-Jewish populations from Israel (Druze and Arab). The study concludes that significant similarities exist between paternal lines of Jews and Samaritans, but the maternal lines differ between the two populations. The pair-wise genetic distances (Fst) between 11 populations from AMOVA applied to the Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial data. For the Y-chromosome, all Jewish groups, except for the Ethiopians, are closely related to each other. They do not differ significantly from Samaritans (0.041) and Druze (0.033), but are different from Palestinians (0.163), Africans (0.219), and Europeans (0.111). Nevertheless, the data in this study indicated that the Samaritan and Jewish Y-chromosomes have a greater affinity than do those of the Samaritans and their geographical neighbors, the Palestinians.[37]


Posted by GPS places origin Yiddish, Ashkenazi in Turkey on Sun, 24 Apr 2016 23:34 | #

Atlas of Science, “Uncovering ancient Ashkenaz – the birthplace of Yiddish speakers”, 21 April 2016:

The origin of the Yiddish language (spoken at least since the 9th century A.D.), and consequently Yiddish speakers, has been debated for the past several centuries, mainly between linguists. While the Rhineland hypothesis suggests a German origin, the Irano-Turko-Slavic hypothesis, proposed by Paul Wexler, suggests a more complex origin starting with Slavic lands in Khazaria, followed by Ukraine, and finally Germany where the language was relexified, i.e., adopted a German vocabulary, but retained its Slavic grammar, which is why Yiddish was oftentimes called “Bad German.”

GPS predictions for the DNA of Ashkenazic Jews (orange triangles) overlap villages whose name may be derived from the word “Ashkenaz” that reside along the Silk Roads and other trade routes. GPS predictions for the DNA of Iranian (yellow triangles) and Mountain (pink triangles) Jews are also shown.

To evaluate these two hypotheses we applied the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool to the genomes of over 360 sole Yiddish and non-Yiddish speaking Ashkenazic Jews. This is the largest study of Ashkenazic Jews and the first one to study Yiddish speakers. Surprisingly, GPS honed in an obscure region in northeast Turkey. There we found four primeval villages (one was abandoned in the mid-7th century A.D.) whose name may be derived from the word “Ashkenaz,” suggesting that this was the central location of ancient Ashkenaz.

The search for ancient Ashkenaz has been one of the longest quests in human history lasting at least 1000 years (perhaps second only to Noah’s Ark that has been searched at least since the 3rd century A.D.). This is the only place in the world with these placenames and they cluster within a hub of atrade routes, as can be expected from a nation of traders where linguistic, genomic, historic, and geographic evidence converge.

Evidently, the ancient Ashkenazic Jews were merchants who, together with Iranian Jews, plied land and maritime trade routes and invented Yiddish as a secret language with 251 words for “buy” and “sell” to maintain their monopoly. They were known to trade in everything from fur to slaves. These findings are consistent with historical records depicting Jews as merchants. Indeed, by the 8th century the words “Jew” and “merchant” were practically synonymous. Around that time, Ashkenazic Jews began relocating to the Khazar Empire to expand their mercantile operations. Consequently, some of the Turkic Khazar rulers and the numerous Eastern Slavs in the Khazar Empire converted to Judaism to participate in the lucrative Silk Road trade between Germany and China.

After the fall of Khazaria (10-13th centuries) Ashkenazic Jews split into two groups. Some remained in the Caucasus and others migrated into Eastern Europe and Germany that has been incorrectly proposed to be the original land of Ashkenaz. The two groups still call themselves Ashkenazic Jews, however the name became more strongly associated with the latter group. After their separation Yiddish became the primary language among European Jews and underwent relexification by adopting a new vocabulary that consists of a minority of German and Hebrew and a majority of newly coined Germanoid and Hebroid elements that replaced most of the original Eastern Slavic and Sorbian vocabularies, while keeping the original grammars intact.

Further evidence to the origin of AJs can be found in the many customs and their names concerning the Jewish religion, which were probably introduced by Slavic converts to Judaism, like the breaking of a glass at a wedding ceremony and placing stones over tombstones.

Our study demonstrate the potential of the GPS technology combined with citizen Science to shed light on the forgotten chapters of our history.

Eran Elhaik
University of Sheffield, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Sheffield, UK

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