Re: 52% of Ashkenazi Levites have R1a1 signature
- The following scientists were involved in the Ashkenazi Levites
study: Doron M. Behar, Mark G. Thomas, Karl Skorecki, Michael F.
Hammer, Ekaterina Bulygina, Dror Rosengarten, Abigail L. Jones, Karen
Held, Vivian Moses, David Goldstein, Neil Bradman, and Michael E.
Weale. Many of them previously worked on the Cohen and general
Jewish population genetic surveys. Their new study appears in the
October 2003 issue of American Journal of Human Genetics (volume 73,
number 4) on pages 768-769, and the title is "Multiple Origins of
Ashkenazi Levites: Y Chromosome Evidence for Both Near Eastern and
European Ancestries." This is the first published study on Jewish
DNA that I've seen that credits Vivian Moses. You may know that in
February 2000 I solicited Jews with ancestors from eastern Europe to
send their DNA to Vivian Moses (and I sent mine, too); I hope those
data were utilized this time. I also had sent to Dr. Moses in April
2000 the speculation in David Keys' book "Catastrophe" concerning
Levites so he and his team would be aware of it. (Keys had noticed a
difference in Levite DNA in an earlier study and adopted Norman
Golb's explanation of the Kievan Letter to the effect that he thought
it was evidence that some Khazarian Jews had artificially adopted the
Levite and Cohen titles.)
In the DNA discussion group at JewishGen today, Howard Sachs raised
an interesting possibility: Did the R1a1 signature get introduced
into the Jewish population by a *high-ranking* or *prominent* Khazar,
perhaps even a king or prince, who married a woman who was the
daughter of a Levite man? And then somehow did their children also
adopt the Levite title even though technically they weren't supposed
to? Sachs thinks this could explain how the particular haplotypes
got so prevalent among Jews of Europe.
FYI: It doesn't necessarily concern the haplotypes found among
Ashkenazic Levite, but haplotypes in the overall R1a1 haploGROUP are
also found among some Poles, Russians, and Scandinavians.
We have to remember that this study does not suggest that the
majority of Ashkenazi ancestry as a whole derives from Khazars or
Slavs. The Levites are only a small percentage of Ashkenazim, and
Cohens and non-Levite Ashkenazim have a majority of their Y-DNA from
the Middle East.
Kevin Alan Brook