The New York Times tells us that Jewish genetic material runs rampant among Spaniards.

Spain and Portugal have a history of fervent Catholicism, but almost a third of the population now turns out to have a non-Christian genetic heritage. Some 20 percent of the present population of the Iberian peninsula has Sephardic Jewish ancestry, and 11 percent bear Moorish DNA signatures, a team of geneticists reports.

The genetic study, based on an analysis of Y chromosomes, was conducted by a team of biologists led by Mark A. Jobling of the University of Leicester in England and Francesc Calafell of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.

The biologists developed a Y chromosome signature for Sephardic men by studying Sephardic Jewish communities in places where Jews migrated after being expelled from Spain in 1492-1496. They also characterized the Y chromosomes of the Arab and Berber army that invaded Spain in 711 AD from data on people now living in Morocco and Western Sahara.

Because most of the Y chromosome remains unchanged from father to son, the proportions of Sephardic and Moorish ancestry detected in the present population are probably the same as those just after the 1492 expulsions, assuming no further emigrations since then.

Jonathan S. Ray, a professor of Jewish studies at Georgetown University, said that a high proportion of people with Sephardic ancestry was to be expected. “Jews formed a very large part of the urban population up until the great conversions,” he said.

The genetic analysis is “very compelling,” said Jane S. Gerber, an expert on Sephardic history at the City University of New York, and weighs against scholars who have argued there were very few Jewish conversions to Christianity.

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8 Comments

  • What the hell is a “non-Christian genetic heritage”?

    There’s a Christian gene?

    Tom, have you guys been holding out on us? You’re a race after all?

  • Oh, yeah:

    I heard from an old Jewish Morroccan dude that Tariq ibn Ziad, the leader of the Berber army that first invaded the Iberian Penninsula (after whom the Rock of Gibraltar is named [Jebel Tariq, “Tariq’s Mountain”]), was actually a Jewish Berber who had recently been forcibly converted to Islam, and he took his army of other converted-to-Islam Jewish Berbers to invade Spain to rescue his fellow Jews from Visigothic persecution.

    Anybody know if this is true?

  • Ephraim, among Christians the Irish are viewed (and resented) as an elite, with exceptional intellectual and other endowments, but the rest of us are standard-issue homo sapiens, genetically speaking.

  • Well, the study is about Spain, but moreover the Latin Americans also has the same composition, in some places and remotes twons you can find that most people has the Jewish ADN.

    Myself, I found a Jew with my name and surname who wall kill by the inquisition in the 1500s.

    The promise given to Abraham became true, Sons like the sand of the sea.

  • Jewish sports fans have still more reason to watch Santos and Cruz Azul in the finale of the Liga Mexicana’s Apertura. (Or at least that’s my pick– so long, Atlante and Toluca.)

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