The Matrilineal Ancestry of Ashkenazi Jewry: Portrait of a Recent Founder Event
Behar, D. M.; Metspalu, E.; Kivisild, T.; Achilli, A.; Hadid, Y.; Tzur, S.; Pereira, L.; Amorim, A.; Quintana-Murci, L.; Majamaa, K.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN GENETICS VOL 78; NUMB 3 (2006) pp. 487-497
Both the extent and location of the maternal ancestral deme from which the Ashkenazi Jewry arose remain obscure. Here, using complete sequences of the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), we show that close to one-half of Ashkenazi Jews, estimated at 8,000,000 people, can be traced back to only 4 women carrying distinct mtDNAs that are virtually absent in other populations, with the important exception of low frequencies among non-Ashkenazi Jews. We conclude that four founding mtDNAs, likely of Near Eastern ancestry, underwent major expansion(s) in Europe within the past millennium.