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DNA & ancestry: We all carry “Jewish genes”

This is not a story of Lost Tribes, but of lost history–the discovery of “Jewish genes” in Hispano Christian populations of the American Southwest. Thousands of Southwest Hispanos—descendants of marriages of Spanish men and female Native Americans— have discovered through genetic screening that they are descended from Jews converted during the Spanish Inquisition. Just last week, in an article accepted for publication in the European Journal of Human Genetics, Israeli geneticists from Sheba Medical Center announced that they had found that descendants of many Spanish speaking Americans in the American Southwest carry the genetic mutation for breast cancer known as BRCA1. Geneticists have determined that it originated in the tightly knit Jewish community centuries ago, marking a carrier as a descendant of Jews.

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