The Jewish population in Israel comprises of inhabitants of heterogenous ethnic background. Genetic studies classify the Israeli Jewish population into two major groups: Ashkenazi from Central and Eastern Europe and Sephardic or non Ashkenazi, from the Mediterranean and North Africa. The present study was aimed at elucidating the differential influx of HLA class II alleles in Ashkenazi, in various non-Ashkenazi subgroups and in Israeli Moslem Arabs. Using the PCR-SSOP technique, a large number of alleles were detected at each of the loci examined (DRB1, DQA 1 and DQB 1). In addition, gene frequencies, characteristic DR/DQ linkage disequilibria, population distances and their corresponding dendogram, were used to study the relationship between Israelis as a group, non Jewish Caucasians and Blacks. These populations could be grouped into three main clusters: the first consists of all the Israeli groups with the exception of the Ethiopian Jews; the second consists of non Jewish Caucasians, with a clear distinction seen between Israelis and non Jewish Europeans and U.S. Caucasians; the third, composed of Blacks, is distinctly different from the other populations. Ethiopian Jews were found to be closer to the Blacks than to any of the Israeli Jewish groups. We have shown that Jews share common features, a fact that points to a common ancestry. A certain degree of admixture with their pre-immigration neighbors exists despite the cultural and religious constraints against intermarriage.
- Ethnic groups
- Gene frequency