Canaanites—one of the original populations in ancient Israel—are still a coherent genetic group thousands of years later

beni hassan asiatiques
Credit: Wikimedia

A new international, interdisciplinary study provides intriguing answers to the origins and history of the Canaanite people. In an article published May 28 in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Cell, scientists report that over thousands of years, the widely dispersed Canaanite people maintained themselves as a demographically coherent group.

The study was performed through a genome-wide analysis of ancient DNA samples from the remains of 93 individuals at nine Bronze Age Canaanite sites throughout the Levant.

For centuries, scholars have debated over who the Canaanites were and where they originated. Ancient “frenemies” of the conquering Israelites, the Canaanites were recorded throughout the Bible and in historical documents up to 3,500 years old as a group of peoples living throughout the Levant who were ruled by their own city/state kings.

Related article:  For those with limited genetic knowledge, at-home ancestry tests fuel misconceptions that genes dictate race

The study also discovered that they shared a genetic relationship with another group of people who slowly and continuously migrated from the far-away Caucausus and/or Zagros Mountain regions. This special genetic mix of Canaanite and mountain peoples can still be seen in some form with modern Arabic-speaking and Jewish populations, wrote the authors.

“Our results in this new study show that the ‘Canaanite’ term that is known from the archaeological and historical literature in fact corresponded to a genetically mostly homogeneous group of people — it was not just a shared set of ideas, but a people of similar ancestry,” [said] Harvard University Ancient Genetics Prof. David Reich.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: What are mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and how do they work?

Infographic: What are mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and how do they work?

As of 1 December 2020, thirteen vaccines have reached the final stage of testing: where they are being given to ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend