JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Study Finds Ashkenazi Jews Descend From 350 Individuals #general

Jan Meisels Allen

A new study published in Nature Communications see:
Original url:

says Ashkenazi Jews can trace their ancestry to a "bottleneck" of just 350
individuals dating back to between 600 and 800 years ago. The multi-authored
study included Shai Carmi, a computer science professor at Columbia
University, and more than 20 medical researchers >from Yale, Columbia,
Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and other
institutions. A group of Jews who experienced this "bottleneck" was of
approximately evenly mixed Middle Eastern and European descent. The team
analyzed the genomes of 128 Ashkenazi Jews, comparing them with a reference
group of 26 Flemish people >from Belgium. The number of similarities within
the genomes allowed the scientists to compute a rough estimate of the
founding population and put upper and lower limits on the amount of time
that had passed since that group originated. One of the researchers said
"Among Ashkenazi Jews everyone is a 30th cousin".

The study also sheds a little history on Jewish migration-when Jews were
expelled >from England in 1290, France in 1394 and Spain in 1492-many of whom
migrated to Eastern Europe which became the Ashkenazi community.

What is important is the significance of genetic diseases that many Jews are
more susceptible to due to carrying the genes: Tay Sachs, cystic fibrosis,
breast cancer to name a few. A recent study shows all Ashkenazic women may
carry a genetic mutation linked to breast cancer. See:

The findings bolster the mainstream view that the ancestors of European Jews
were people >from the Levant and local Europeans. These genetic results makes
it less likely that Ashkenazi Jews descended >from Khazars which was has
been espoused in previous studies.

to read more about the study see:
[MOD.NOTE: shortened URL - ]
[MOD. NOE: shortened URL - ]

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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