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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Haplogroup J2 in the Maronites of Lebanon

A recent paper by the genographic consortium, Influences of History, Geography and Religion on Genetic Structure: The Maronites of Lebanon, demonstrates again the ancient and deep link between Haplogroup J2 and Lebanon. M172, Haplogroup J2 was the most frequent haplogroup found in all 3 Lebanese groups-Lebanese Muslims, Orthodox and Maronites. The frequency of Haplogroup J2 in the Lebanese Maronite community was 34.74%, one of the highest frequencies of M172 published to date. The study also showed however that Haplogroup J2 was found in 26.23% of Lebanese Muslims and 25.85% of Lebanese Greek Orthodox also being the most frequent haplogroup in these respective communities. The aim of the study was to describe the genetic structure of Lebanon and the effect of how social history may have contributed to genetic differentiation between these Lebanese religious groups. While the study did show some minor variance between the communities genetic structure, it revealed no significant distinction of major haplogroups. Supplemental data however did show that J2-M172 with DYS 391=9, often a characteristic of the L70 subclade of YCC Haplogroup J2a4h was almost completely limited to the Lebanese Christian population.

The Maronite community in Lebanon dates back to the 5th Century and is among the first Christian communities in the Near East. The liturgical language of the Maronite Church is Aramaic (Syriac). Their initial settlements were in the Mountains of Lebanon where they remained relatively isolated until the time of the Crusades. They are one of the largest Christian sects in Lebanon. The very high presence of Haplogroup J2-M172 among Maronites strongly suggests J2 was among the founding lineages of the community.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New L267 SNP may define distinct cluster of J2a4

Family Tree DNA's Walk Through the Y program has yielded hundreds of new SNP's that are helping to define the Y-Chromosome Tree. One such SNP, named L267 was recently found in a participant in the program whose paternal origin lies in Calabria, Southern Italy. The mutation, an A to G transition at position 2948591 on the Y chromosome is thus far, unique to this participant. The mutation was not found in other participants from other J2a4 subclades, J2-M67 and J2-L25 (rs34534058). Thus, it appears L267 could define a subclade under J2a4.

Similar haplotypes come largely from Eastern Anatolia and Armenia indicative of the possibility of a more recent spread from Anatolia to Italy for this cluster. The cluster can be viewed in the Haplogroup J project's results identified as J2a4 Cluster C. Further testing of this SNP is in progress.

Additional SNP's have also been identified in J2a4h (L25) including L192.2, L229, L230, L231, L243, L254 and L264 which so far look to define clusters within this subclade of J2, M172.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Indian Muslim population shows genetic affinity with non-Muslim Indian Geographic Neighbours

A 2009 study by India's National DNA Analysis Centre shows Indian Muslims display a genetic affinity with their neighbouring Non-Muslim populations along with low levels of Arabian, Central Asian and Iranian admixture. The study sampled 431 Indian Muslims from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The results showed distinctions between the Muslim communities based on geographic origins and a greater affinity to their neighbouring non-muslims than to each other. However, the study also does note a contribution to the genetic structure of Indian Muslims coming from Iranian and Arabian populaitons. The study does show some distinctive Y-DNA haplogroup frequencies especially in Haplogroup J:

Most noteworthy were the J2, J2a and JxJ2 frequencies of the Indian Shia population which were substantially higher than those of Indian Non-Muslims.

The spread of Islam in India was predominantly cultural conversion association with minor but still detectable levels of gene flow from outside, primarily from Iran and Central Asia, rather than directly from the Arabian Peninsula.
Traces of sub-Saharan and Middle Eastern lineages in Indian Muslim populations