Research Topic

Population genetics of worldwide Jewish people

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The Hebrew language and Jewish religion have been around for thousands of years. Originated in small religious enclaves in Mesopotamia, Israel, and Judea, Judaism soon embraced proselytization and rapidly spread to the Old World competing with paganism and its later monotheistic counterparts. Jews establish ...

The Hebrew language and Jewish religion have been around for thousands of years. Originated in small religious enclaves in Mesopotamia, Israel, and Judea, Judaism soon embraced proselytization and rapidly spread to the Old World competing with paganism and its later monotheistic counterparts. Jews establish several powerful Kingdoms in North Africa and Arabia like the Ḥimyarite and Axum Kingdoms alongside powerful communities and spiritual centers. Khazaria in the Caucasus was the last Jewish Empire and dissolved during the Middle Ages. Following the collapse of their Kingdoms and destruction of their religious centers, wanderings, small-scale settlements, and dispersal became a big part of Jewish history. For much of that history, Jews managed to maintain their heritage and cultural identity even in the absence of a geographical state. Since their emergence as people, throughout the Middle Ages and up to the modern era, demographic processes like migrations, admixture, and assimilation continuously reshaped the genome structure of worldwide Jews making questions regarding their history and origin all the more intriguing. Though oral history suggests Middle Eastern ties to almost all Jewish community, genetic evidence is scant. The question of Jewish origin has broad implications beyond history, which have critical relevance for medicine, anthropology, linguistics, social justice, and more.

With both history and genetic evidence pointing to a more complex demographic history than previously suggested, geneticists, now armed with powerful bioinformatics and statistical tools, have begun employing genome-wide data, which have already yielded fascinating findings. The growing number of publicly available datasets made research on the topic even more feasible and broader than ever.

This proposal therefore seeks to establish an unbiased platform to publish articles that a) describe original analyses that use genetic data in attempt to answer questions regarding the origin of different worldwide Jewish communities or b) discuss the results of previous analyses that used genetic data in attempt to answer questions regarding the origin of different worldwide Jewish communities.

Authors are expected to maintain the utmost sensitivity to this population and any other population following the conventional ethical guidelines in the field.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be in line with the scope of the specialty and field to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Manuscripts discovered during any stage of peer review to be outside of the scope may be transferred to a suitable section or field, or withdrawn from review.

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