Gene study hopes to settle debate over origin of European JewsSubmitted by Bob-45 on Fri, 01/18/2013 - 00:06
Jews of European origin are a mix of ancestries, with many hailing from tribes in the Caucasus who converted to Judaism and created an empire that lasted half a millennium, according to a gene study.
The investigation, its author says, should settle a debate that has been roiling for more than two centuries.
Jews of European descent, often called Ashkenazis, account for some 90 percent of the more than 13 million Jews in the world today.
According to the so-called Rhineland Hypothesis, Ashkenazis descended from Jews who progressively fled Palestine after the Moslem conquest of 638 AD.
They settled in southern Europe and then, in the late Middle Ages, about 50,000 of them moved from the Rhineland in Germany into eastern Europe, according to the hypothesis.
But detractors say this idea is implausible.