Approximately 300,000 men around the globe self-identify as Ashkenazi Levites, of whom two thirds were previously shown to descend from a single male. The paucity of whole Y-chromosome sequences precluded conclusive identification of this ancestor’s age, geographic origin and migration patterns. Here, we report the variation of 486 Y-chromosomes within the Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Levite R1a clade, other Ashkenazi Jewish paternal lineages, as well as non-Levite Jewish and non-Jewish R1a samples. Cumulatively, the emerging profile is of a Middle Eastern ancestor, self-affiliating as Levite, and carrying the highly resolved R1a-Y2619 lineage, which was likely a minor haplogroup among the Hebrews. A star-like phylogeny, coalescing similarly to other Ashkenazi paternal lineages, ~1,743 ybp, suggests it to be one of the Ashkenazi paternal founders; to have expanded as part of the overall Ashkenazi demographic expansion, without special relation to the Levite affiliation; and to have subsequently spread to non-Ashkenazi Levites.
- Behar, D., Saag, L., Karmin, M., Gover, M., Wexler, J., Sanchez, L.F., Greenspan, E., Kushniarevich, A., Davydenko, O., Sahakyan, H., Yepiskoposyan, L., Boattini, A., Sarno, S., Pagani, L., Carmi, S., Tzur, S., Metspalu, E., Bormans, C., Skorecki, K., Metspalu, M., Rootsi, S., & Villems, R. (2017). The genetic variation in the R1a clade among the Ashkenazi Levites’ Y chromosome. Scientific Reports, 7, -.
Peoples: Ashkenazi Jews | Places: Europe and Middle East | Topics: Ashkenazi Levites and Middle Eastern Y-DNA | DNA Type: Y-DNA and Y-SNP