Friday, December 5, 2008

Hispanics and Jewish Ancestry

Posted by Teresa at 4:11 PM
I had heard before a good portion of the Spanish and people of Spanish descent
(Hispanics) have Jewish ancestry. It seems with modern developments in genetic
technologies they are able to find more. From a Reuters article:

MADRID - From the 15th century on, Spain's Jews were mostly
expelled or forced to convert, but today some 20 percent of
Spaniards have genes similar to Sephardic Jews, a study has found.

A report in the American Journal of Human Genetics says almost
a fifth of Spaniards have genes similar to Sephardic Jews while 11
percent have links to Muslims in North Africa.

"The genetic composition of the current population is the legacy of
our diverse cultural and religious past," one of the report's authors,
Francesc Calafell, from the evolutionary biology faculty at Pompeu
Fabra University in Barcelona, said on Friday.

Last year there was a study published in The Journal of the American Medical
Association finding that a mutation in a gene common among women with Jewish
ancestry was also prevalent Hispanic females. Here is the study concluded:

Among African American, Asian American, and Hispanic patients in the
Northern California Breast Cancer Family Registry, the prevalence of
BRCA1 mutation carriers was highest in Hispanics and lowest in Asian
Americans. The higher carrier prevalence in Hispanics may reflect the
presence of unrecognized Jewish ancestry in this population.

So there you go.
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