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Bene Israel: Study of Jewish community living in India

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A family of the Bene Israel community in India. Image source: wordpress.com

The Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, in a letter written 800 years ago (circa 1200 CE), briefly mentioned a Jewish community living in India. It is anticipated that he referred to the Bene Israel community.

The Bene Israel community in West India is a unique community whose historical background before the 18th century other than their oral history remains largely unknown.

Oral history among Bene Israel holds that they are descendants of Jews whose ship wrecked on the Konkan shore, with only seven men and seven women surviving. Adding to the vagueness of Bene Israel origin is the fact that a similar story of seven surviving couples is found in the oral histories of other Indian populations.

Here is the Abstract of the Reasearch Article “The Genetics of Bene Israel from India Reveals Both Substantial Jewish and Indian Ancestry”:

Bene Israel members consider themselves as descendants of Jews, yet the identity of Jewish ancestors and their arrival time to India are unknown, with speculations on arrival time varying between the 8th century BCE and the 6th century CE.

Here, we characterize the genetic history of Bene Israel by collecting and genotyping 18 Bene Israel individuals. Combining with 486 individuals from 41 other Jewish, Indian and Pakistani populations, and additional individuals from worldwide populations, we conducted comprehensive genome-wide analyses based on FST, principal component analysis, ADMIXTURE, identity-by-descent sharing, admixture linkage disequilibrium decay, haplotype sharing and allele sharing autocorrelation decay, as well as contrasted patterns between the X chromosome and the autosomes.

The genetics of Bene Israel individuals resemble local Indian populations while at the same time constituting a clearly separated and unique population in India. They are unique among Indian and Pakistani populations we analyzed in sharing considerable genetic ancestry with other Jewish populations.

Putting together the results from all analyses point to Bene Israel being an admixed population with both Jewish and Indian ancestry, with the genetic contribution of each of these ancestral populations being substantial. The admixture took place in the last millennium, about 19–33 generations ago. It involved Middle-Eastern Jews and was sex-biased, with more male Jewish and local female contribution. It was followed by a population bottleneck and high endogamy, which can lead to increased prevalence of recessive diseases in this population.

This study provides an example of how genetic analysis advances our knowledge of human history in cases where other disciplines lack the relevant data to do so.

(The paper was originally published in plos.org. Read full paper here)

Next Story

For Millennials, Owning a Car Means More Sex

Given that emerging adults in the study belonged to a vulnerable and psychologically immature group, future studies are required in other social groups to reach a broad conclusion, the researchers noted

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A car also makes it easier to get to places for sex and can be used at public places too, it added. Pixabay

Millennials, please take note if you are about to own a car (or if your parents are gifting you one on New Year) as this can boost your sex life too. According to researchers, owning a car gives young adults higher self-esteem, making it a status symbol that women find attractive, and fall for them.

Having a car increased sexual desire and the probability of having action between the sheets, reported researchers from the University of Colima in Mexico.

Owning a car early in life “can act as a sexual enhancer in emerging adulthood. Women still demonstrate a clear preference for men that possess or show the potential to acquire material resources,” said study lead author David Soriano-Hernandez.

For the study, published in the journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy, the researchers asked 809 students aged 17 to 24 studying at a small university in Western Mexico about their sex lives.

The students were surveyed in relation to their sexual conduct, along with other socio-economic aspects.

The participants were then separated into two groups, one with cars and other without it.

Having a car increased sexual desire and the probability of having sexual intercourse at a younger age, of having more sexual partners, and increase in the frequency of sexual activities.

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Owning a car means more sex for millennials: Study. Pixabay

According to the researchers, having their own cars gives young men higher self-esteem and is a status symbol women find attractive.

Those with a car typically had sex twice as often, and with double the number of partners.

One drawback was that they were engaged in unsafe sex, the researchers said.

A car also makes it easier to get to places for sex and can be used at public places too, it added.

Also Read: Cleanliness Survey Taps into Toilets Usability, Sludge, Waste Management

“It is not unusual for cars to have a type of erotic effect on their owners and spectators. Expressions such as ‘hot’, ‘sexy’, and ‘exciting’ are often used to describe automobiles,” Soriano-Hernandez said.

The study noted that the automobile can also act as a sexual enhancer in emerging adulthood, which should be taken into consideration in the development of sex education strategies.

Given that emerging adults in the study belonged to a vulnerable and psychologically immature group, future studies are required in other social groups to reach a broad conclusion, the researchers noted. (IANS)