The Jews are an ancient people with a history spanning several millennia. Genetic studies over the past 50 years have shed light on Jewish origins, the relatedness of Jewish communities and the genetic basis of Mendelian disorders among Jewish peoples. In turn, these observations have been used to develop genetic testing programmes and, more recently, to attempt to discover new genes for susceptibility to common diseases.
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I thank J. and S. Rudin for their support, L. Schiffman, N. Risch, C. Oddoux, S. Gross and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.
Inter-population gene flow.
The joining of genetic lineages to common ancestors when they are traced backwards in time.
- COMMON ERA
(C.E.). A neutral term for the period of time since the birth of Christ.
Mating or marriage within a social or cultural unit.
- GENETIC DRIFT
Random changes in allele frequency that result because the genes appearing in offspring are not a perfectly representative sample of the parental genes (for example, in small populations).
- GENE FLOW
The movement of alleles between local populations owing to the migration of individuals.
A set of genetic markers present on one chromosome.
- HUMAN LEUKOCYTE ANTIGEN
Protein present on the surface of white cells and most other cells in the body that allows the immune system to recognize self from non-self.
- LINKAGE DISEQUILIBRIUM
(LD). The condition in which the frequency of a particular haplotype for two loci is significantly greater than that expected from the product of the observed allelic frequencies at each locus.
A class of repetitive DNA that is made up of repeats that are 2–8 nucleotides in length. They can be highly polymorphic and are frequently used as molecular markers in population genetics studies.
The proportion of genotypically mutant organisms that show the mutant phenotype. If all genotypically mutant individuals show the mutant phenotype, then the genotype is said to be completely penetrant.
The study of the conformation of the skull on the basis of the belief that it is indicative of mental faculties and character.
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