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Hum Genet. 2016 Oct;135(10):1127-43. doi: 10.1007/s00439-016-1698-y. Epub 2016 Jul 4.

The genetic history of Cochin Jews from India.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA.
2
Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, 6997801, Tel Aviv, Israel.
3
Danek Gertner Institute of Human Genetics, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, 52621, Ramat Gan, Israel.
4
Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, 6997801, Tel Aviv, Israel.
5
Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, 10461, USA.
6
Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, 10461, USA.
7
Department of Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, 10461, USA.
8
Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.
9
The Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, 6997801, Tel Aviv, Israel.
10
International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley, CA, 94704, USA.
11
Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, 10461, USA.
12
Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA. alon.keinan@cornell.edu.

Abstract

Cochin Jews form a small and unique community on the Malabar coast in southwest India. While the arrival time of any putative Jewish ancestors of the community has been speculated to have taken place as far back as biblical times (King Solomon's era), a Jewish community in the Malabar coast has been documented only since the 9th century CE. Here, we explore the genetic history of Cochin Jews by collecting and genotyping 21 community members and combining the data with that of 707 individuals from 72 other Indian, Jewish, and Pakistani populations, together with additional individuals from worldwide populations. We applied comprehensive genome-wide analyses based on principal component analysis, F ST, ADMIXTURE, identity-by-descent sharing, admixture linkage disequilibrium decay, haplotype sharing, allele sharing autocorrelation decay and contrasting the X chromosome with the autosomes. We find that, as reported by several previous studies, the genetics of Cochin Jews resembles that of local Indian populations. However, we also identify considerable Jewish genetic ancestry that is not present in any other Indian or Pakistani populations (with the exception of the Jewish Bene Israel, which we characterized previously). Combined, Cochin Jews have both Jewish and Indian ancestry. Specifically, we detect a significant recent Jewish gene flow into this community 13-22 generations (~470-730 years) ago, with contributions from Yemenite, Sephardi, and Middle-Eastern Jews, in accordance with historical records. Genetic analyses also point to high endogamy and a recent population bottleneck in this population, which might explain the increased prevalence of some recessive diseases in Cochin Jews.

PMID:
27377974
PMCID:
PMC5020127
DOI:
10.1007/s00439-016-1698-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Compliance with ethical standards Ethical approval All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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