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The genetic legacy of religious diversity and intolerance: paternal lineages of Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula.

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-12-15, 16:24 authored by Susan M. Adams, Elena Bosch, Patricia L. Balaresque, Stéphane J. Ballereau, Andrew C. Lee, Eduardo Arroyo, Ana M. López-Parra, Mercedes Aler, Marina S. Gisbert Grifo, Maria Brion, Angel Carracedo, João Lavinha, Begoña Martínez-Jarreta, Lluis Quintana-Murci, Antònia Picornell, Misericordia Ramon, Karl Skorecki, Doron M. Behar, Francesc Calafell, Mark A. Jobling
Most studies of European genetic diversity have focused on large-scale variation and interpretations based on events in prehistory, but migrations and invasions in historical times may also have had profound effects on the genetic landscape. The Iberian peninsula provides a suitable region to examine the demographic impact of such recent events, since its complex recent history has involved the long-term residence of two very different populations with distinct geographical origins, and their own particular cultural and religious characteristics – North African Muslims, and Sephardic Jews. To address this question we analysed Y chromosome haplotypes, which provide the necessary phylogeographic resolution, in 1140 males from the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands. Admixture analysis based on binary and Y-STR haplotypes indicates a high mean proportion of ancestry from North African (10.6%) and Sephardic Jewish (19.8%) sources. Despite alternative possible sources for lineages ascribed a Sephardic Jewish origin, these proportions attest to a high level of religious conversion (whether voluntary or enforced), driven by historical episodes of social and religious intolerance, that ultimately led to the integration of descendants. In agreement with the historical record, analysis of haplotype sharing and diversity within specific haplogroups suggests that the Sephardic Jewish component is the more ancient. The geographical distribution of North African ancestry in the peninsula does not reflect the initial colonization and subsequent withdrawal, and is likely to result from later enforced population movement - more marked in some regions that others – plus the effects of genetic drift.



American Journal of Human Genetics, 2008, 83 (6), pp. 725-736.

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