Today I read a couple of pieces in the news reporting a new study that will soon appear in the prestigious European Journal of Human Genetic journal. The running title for each story was quite sensational with a clear reference to Jewish DNA found in the Americas: "Israeli researchers: Group of Colorado Indians have genetic Jewish roots" and "Israeli researchers find American Indians with Jewish genetic markers". The title is comforting if you have desperately been waiting for someone trustworthy to report a genetic connection between the Old and New Worlds. I know few people that would jump all over this one. The study is interesting; no doubt about it. I can't wait to read the full paper in the journal when it will become available. The genetic link is also plausible, but be aware that according to the researchers, the dating of the BRCA1 gene (one of those associated with breast cancer) reported in the study is 600 years before present. The researchers concluded that these are conquistadores with Jewish blood that left Spain following the discovery of the Western Hemisphere by Christopher Columbus and immediately interbred with the local native population of Central and North America (as north as probably modern-day Colorado) thus leaving a genetic legacy of Jewish DNA in the modern indigenous population. While the distribution of the BRCA1 gene in Old and New World populations is pretty clear, the dating for such mutation and its arrival to the Americas leaves some room for debate.
Jewish DNA in the Americas?
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