DNA Research #DNA Re: The Jews as a Middle Eastern People #dna

Sean Silver <sean_silver@...>

First Ittai, let me compliment you on your insight.

I certainly agree that we are gaining this data which seems to
support continually-clarifying theories.

However, there seems to be little incentive for the academic
community to further investigate (either to support or refute)
these theories which does not convey such ground-breaking (and
media-friendly) results as the Cohane Modal Haplotype. During
the last conference, Dr. Behar said that he would not be able
to procure funding for such projects that may be of interest
to the Jewish and/or historical community, but don't have that
grant-level appeal. I'm afraid that in today's climate, grants
are only conferred for research which can spur a first-section
newspaper article or a book which may reach a certain level of

The challenges that a lot of individual project administrators
have is that most all of them do not have the knowledge to take
the project to the next level. For example, Doron Behar
encouraged us to publish our results if they are significant.
However, that is not only daunting to most administrators, it
might well be beyond their ability to create a viable
scientific paper. Furthermore, it is far more difficult to have
your findings accepted by the larger population genetic
community without the pedigree.

Additionally, there is also the burden of practicing scientific
skepticism when you have a set purpose for your project. It is
very difficult to objectively interpret data when it very well
may change the purpose of, or even invalidate your project.
That is not to say that the scientists don't have those
challenges, but they should also have the training in college
and post-graduate research to hnalde that skepticism more
easily. They also have more knowledge in their respective
fields in which to properly establish their initial theories,
as well as revise them leveraging previous experience.

Sean Silver

From: ittai.hershman@...
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2010 09:03:56 -0400
My own frustration is that we seem to have a growing body of empirical data
that is generating theories, but between the technical specialized journal
articles and the broad-brush (often politically angled) mass media, there is
a narrative not being crisply told.
...given such a preponderance of (Eastern) European Ashkenazi Jewish data
points, surely we must be closer to understanding the more detailed
migrations of this population cluster >from 1st century Israel to [...] to
19th century Eastern Europe that would help tease out the
Sephardic/Ashkenazi split.

As one potential methodological example, using Rabbinic literature, we know
of specific people in specific towns in specific years who developed
Sephardi vs. Ashkenazi rites and customs; and we have the genealogical
history of their progeny. Perhaps this is a PhD thesis in development

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