Brit-Am Anthropology and DNA Update
10 April 2011, 6 Nissan 5771
1.YDNA: Environmental Influences or Middle East Origins?
2. Did R1a Originate in the Middle East?
3. R1a Amongst Jews.
YDNA and Jews
The Y Chromosome Pool
of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East
5. Ancient Swedes from the Middle East?


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1.  YDNA: Environmental Influences or Middle East Origins?

Q. Brit-Am claims that Y-DNA haplogroups are an outcome of climate and environment.
Is this reconcilable with the assertion that R1b originated in the Middle East?

(a) The correlation between Y-DNA haplogroups is almost absolute. I did not understand why others have not remarked on it.

(b) R1b was not so long ago considered to have originated in Spain. Some people are not aware that this notion is no longer fashionable.
R1b is now considered to have originated in the Middle East, possibly in Eastern Turkey or Armenia or Northern Syria which regions are all in the same neighborhood.
The point of origin is deduced from the present situation: Where-ever there exist more forms and more complexity there is it assumed the point of origin to be. The logic is that as derivatives move away from the point of origin they take less of the original stock with them. Therefore those who move away are less diversified.
We accept this.
We wished to apply the same principle to YDNA haplogroups in general when compared one to another.
This however is apparently not pertinent since the differences in complexity between one haplogroups as described in popular descriptions  may not reflect reality.

2. Did R1a Originate in the Middle East?
Middle East
As mentioned above, R1a haplotypes are less common in most of the Middle East than they are in either South Asia or Eastern Europe or much of Central Asia. It has nevertheless been mentioned in speculation about the origins of the clade. This is both because there are above-described pockets of high frequency and diversity, for example in some parts of Iran and amongst some Kurdish populations. A Middle Eastern origin for R1a has long been considered a possibility, and is still considered to be consistent with known data.[2][9][11][15]

3. R1a Amongst Jews:


Haplogroup R1a1a was found at elevated levels amongst a sample of the Israeli population who self-designated themselves as Ashkenazi Jews, originally from European Jewish communities, compared with Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jews. The authors stated that the reasons for these chromosomes in the population is unknown, but could possibly reflect gene flow into Ashkenazi populations from surrounding Eastern European populations, over a course of centuries. This haplogroup finding was apparently consistent with the latest SNP microarray analysis which argued that up to 55 percent of the modern Ashkenazi genome is specifically traceable to Europe.[24][25]

Ashkenazim were found to have a significantly higher frequency of the R-M17 haplogroup Behar reported R-M17 to be the dominant haplogroup in Ashkenazi Levites (52%), although rare in Ashkenazi Cohanim (1.3%) and Israelites (4%).[14]

4. YDNA and Jews
The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East
Almut Nebel,1 Dvora Filon,2 Bernd Brinkmann,4 Partha P. Majumder,5 Marina Faerman,3 and Ariella Oppenheim1

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 for 13 binary polymorphisms and six microsatellite loci. 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. The two haplogroups Eu 9 and Eu 10 constitute a major part of the Y chromosome pool in the analyzed sample. Our data suggest that Eu 9 originated in the northern part, and Eu 10 in the southern part of the Fertile Crescent. Genetic dating yielded estimates of the expansion of both haplogroups that cover the Neolithic period in the region. Palestinian Arabs and Bedouin differed from the other Middle Eastern populations studied here, mainly in specific high-frequency Eu 10 haplotypes not found in the non-Arab groups. 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.

5. Ancient Swedes from the Middle East?
Linderholm gets explicit on Swedes


16 March 2011
Posted by Jean M 
There is a new book out edited by Ron Pinhasi (we have been hearing a lot about him lately) and Jay T. Stock: Human Bioarchaeology of the Transition to Agriculture. It includes a chapter by Anna Linderholm of the Archaeological Research Laboratory of Stockholm University.

As far as I can see at a glance, she introduces no new material. She simply collates all that has been published on three types of ancient DNA from Sweden:

mtDNA haplogroups
The 13910T allele for lactase persistence
The CCR5 deletion that confers protection against HIV

What strikes me though is that she is more explicit on
mtDNA than I remember the published papers being. She sums up the overall picture in Europe as

the first farmers in Europe were not descendants of local hunter-gatherers and that the genetic legacy of these Neolithic farmers must have been wiped out by subsequent migrations, drift and other demographic processes.

"Wiped out" seems over-dramatic, but her perspective is that of Northern Europe. She goes on to conclude that hunter-gatherers in Northern Europe were replaced by incoming farmers of the
LBK and TRB, and that the genetic legacies of the latter do not survive, "but by the onset of the Bronze Age, the farming population that prevails in Sweden shows close genetic resemblance to the modern-day Swedish population."


16 March 2011 - 19:50 PM
This goes in the same direction that what
Haak said in his 2010 paper: Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic Farmers Reveals Their Near Eastern Affinities

The Y chromosome
hgs obtained from the three Derenburg early Neolithic individuals are generally concordant with the mtDNA data (Table 1). Interestingly, we do not find the most common Y chromosome hgs in modern Europe (e.g., R1b, R1a, I, and E1b1), which parallels the low frequency of the very common modern European mtDNA hg H (now at 20%?50% across Western Eurasia) in the Neolithic samples. Also, while both Neolithic Y chromosome hgs G2a3 and F* are rather rare in modern-day Europe, they have slightly higher frequencies in populations of the Near East, and the highest frequency of hg G2a is seen in the Caucasus today. The few published ancient Y chromosome results from Central Europe come from late Neolithic sites and were exclusively hg R1a. While speculative, we suggest this supports the idea that R1a may have spread with late Neolithic cultures from the east


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