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R1b Jewish project

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  • R1b Jewish project

    Hello all,

    Its been some time since I posted about this project, but we've really seen some activity and rather interesting (and possibly significant) results with the project members that have joined thus far. Dr. Behar has expressed a strong interest in helping us analyze the data, but we're going to need more participants in order to have a viable sample.

    Although none of it can be considered even remotely conclusive, due to only have 15 members in the project (as well as samples submitted from other projects), this is what's been hinted thus far:
    • In searching against the YHRD.ORG database, only one of the fifteen project members has exhibited any matches within Western Europe outside of Spain and Portugal.
    • Most have found matches that correspond with the afore-mentioned Spain and Portugal, as well as matches in Turkey and around the general vicinity of the Anatolian penninsula.
    • We have also found matches in Romania and sporadic matches throughout the Lithuanian/Polish/Ukraine block.
    • There have also been more common matches found in South America

    This seems to give some indication that a good number of the Jewish R1b members have a possible Sephardic link. Given that less than 10% of Ashkenazi Jews (Eastern European) are R1b, this might explain some things. Further, evidence that these Eastern European communities welcomed in Sephardic refuges who were fleeing opression, as well as invited Sephardic scholars, lends credence to this notion.

    Although we cannot as of yet hazard a guess at genetic diversity, there are enough different samples to indicate that there are likely a few, or many, admixtures. Some have enough significant departure from the R1b modal, namely at DYS393 (12) and Gata H4 (12), and among those there seems to be enough genetic diversity to hint that any admixture is likely quite old. Furthermore, all save 1 or 2 of this group (out of 7 samples) have an oral tradition of being Cohanim (the paternally-passed priestly caste said to be descended from Aaron).

    All in all, this is turning out to be a fascinating project! I just thought I'd share our progress. I also have to say that FTDNA, and Bennett in particular, have been fantastic and incredibly helpful every step of the way. I just couldn't be more impressed.

    I'll note that our project is limited to those with definitive Jewish Heritage, either a father or grandfather who was in the least bar mitzvahed, etc. We've had a tremendous amount of interest, but in order to keep our data clean we had to keep this restriction.

    If you're interested in conversations about the project, feel free to visit our Yahoo! forum at:

    And if you're interested in seeing our data, or joining the project, visit our project page at: