Sunday January 20, 2019
Home India Bene Israel: ...

Bene Israel: Study of Jewish community living in India

0
//
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

Genes of Your Uncle or Aunt May Decide Your Longevity, Says Study

The study has led us to be far stricter in selecting the people in whom you have to look for those genes, the researchers said

0
genes
Your uncle's genes may decide your longevity: Study. Pixabay

The key to longevity can probably be found in the genes of your long-living uncles and aunts and not just parents, finds a study.

Researchers, from Netherlands’ Leiden University and US’ University of Utah, showed that an individual’s chances of dying is reduced, even if the parents themselves did not live to be extremely old, but aunts and uncles are among the top survivors in the family.

Top survivors refers to people in the top 10 per cent age-wise of a group of people born in a family within a given time period.

“We observed the more long-lived relatives you have, the lower your hazard of dying at any point in life,” said lead author Niels van den Berg, doctoral student at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

“Longevity is heritable, but that primarily applies to persons from families where multiple members are among the top 10 per cent survivors of their birth cohort. The key to a long life can probably be found in the genes of these families,” said the paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

Genes. Pixabay

For the study, the team analysed the genealogies of nearly 314,819 people from over 20,360 families.

The search for genes associated with human longevity has been ongoing for a long time but those genes turned out to be much more difficult to discover than genes for diseases.

Also Read- “I Never Worked For Russia”, Says US President Donald Trump

The study has led us to be far stricter in selecting the people in whom you have to look for those genes, the researchers said.

According to Ken Smith, Professor at Utah, the findings underscore the importance of constructing high-quality family trees that “allow us to observe complete life-spans of individuals over generations and in diverse locations. (IANS)