North African Jewish and non-Jewish populations form distinctive, orthogonal clusters

Christopher L. Campbell, Pier F. Palamara, Maya Dubrovsky, Laura R. Botigué, Marc Fellous, Gil Atzmon, Carole Oddoux, Alexander Pearlman, Li Hao, Brenna M. Henn, Edward Burns, Carlos D. Bustamante, David Comas, Eitan Friedman, Itsik Pe'er, Harry Ostrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

North African Jews constitute the second largest Jewish Diaspora group. However, their relatedness to each other; to European, Middle Eastern, and other Jewish Diaspora groups; and to their former North African non-Jewish neighbors has not been well defined. Here, genome-wide analysis of five North African Jewish groups (Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Djerban, and Libyan) and comparison with other Jewish and non-Jewish groups demonstrated distinctive North African Jewish population clusters with proximity to other Jewish populations and variable degrees of Middle Eastern, European, and North African admixture. Two major subgroups were identified by principal component, neighbor joining tree, and identity-by-descent analysis - Moroccan/ Algerian and Djerban/Libyan - that varied in their degree of European admixture. These populations showed a high degree of endogamy and were part of a larger Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish group. By principal component analysis, these North African groups were orthogonal to contemporary populations from North and South Morocco, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Thus, this study is compatible with the history of North African Jews - founding during Classical Antiquity with proselytism of local populations, followed by genetic isolation with the rise of Christianity and then Islam, and admixture following the emigration of Sephardic Jews during the Inquisition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13865-13870
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume109
Issue number34
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 21 2012

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Keywords

  • Deep ancestry
  • Identical by descent sharing
  • Jewish genetics
  • North African genetics
  • Population genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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