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Genetic Similarities In African And Eurasian Populations

According to new genetic analysis, Southern Europeans, Middle Eastern groups and Jews share genes with African populations.

African Flags at a soccer game

Photo: Mike George (Flickr)

The DNA findings coincide with historical events.

According to new genetic analysis, Southern Europeans, Middle Eastern groups and Jews share genes with African populations.

Genetic Similarities

Scientists can now look at genetic similarities to see if African and Eurasian populations intermingled in more recent times. They use a method called rolloff to compare the size and composition of segments of DNA between two populations.

If the matching segments are long and continuous, it means the populations mixed recently. If they are smaller and broken up, it means the populations have been separated for a long period of time.

DNA And Population

Southern Europeans intermingled with Africans about fifty five generations ago, or sixteen hundred years. Middle Eastern people have inherited as much as 15 percent African DNA, dating roughly thirty two generations ago. Jewish populations had African family members about 72 generations ago.

The DNA findings coincide with historical events. For example, mixing of European and African populations happened during the Roman Empire’s invasion of northern Africa. Jewish African intermingling took place during the Jewish diaspora, when they were an exiled group during the 8th to 6th centuries.

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