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Thread: Why do most DNA testing companies label Jews as "European"?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michalis Moriopoulos View Post
    Just did some digging. In the G25, these Sephardic samples are apparently Turkish:

    GRC12118097
    GRC12118122
    GRC12118128

    While these are Bulgarian:

    sephardic14bul
    sephardic16bul

    But I can't find anything about these:

    SephardicJew24276
    SephardicJew24402
    SephardicJew4953
    SephardicJew24032
    SephardicJew24392
    The David Reich data set has these Sephardic Jew samples:

    Code:
    SephardiJewTurkey6051
    SephardiJewTurkey4955
    SephardiJewTurkey5877
    SephardiJewTurkey4953
    SephardiJewTurkey6077
    SephardiJewTurkey5832
    SephardiJewTurkey5075
    SephardiJewTurkey4950
    SephardiJewTurkey5033
    Not sure if it's just a coincidence but one of those (SephardicJew4953) closely matches 1 of the above (SephardiJewTurkey4953), the rest don't however. Are there different names for the samples, or were they not added to G25?
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by My G25 Coords
    23abc_scaled,0.10927,0.152329,-0.022627,-0.052972,0.006463,-0.010598,-0.003525,0.002308,-0.010431,0.016037,0.002923,-0.006145,-0.003717,0.00523,-0.007736,0.000133,-0.002347,0.008488,0.001006,-0.005253,-0.005865,-0.006801,0.006039,0.00253,0.000718

    23abc,0.0096,0.015,-0.006,-0.0164,0.0021,-0.0038,-0.0015,0.001,-0.0051,0.0088,0.0018,-0.0041,-0.0025,0.0038,-0.0057,0.0001,-0.0018,0.0067,0.0008,-0.0042,-0.0047,-0.0055,0.0049,0.0021,0.0006

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  3. #32
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    Also, DNA testing companies do a great disservice by not categorizing the 'continuum' populations in such a way that they exist under both West Asian and European categories at the same time. Especially on 23andme, I get around 65% unassigned at 90% conservative, I believe because they don't have a 'broadly WANA and Southern European' section where most of my admixture should be placed in. I can understand not wanting to add another layer of complexity to the categories, but I'm sure they could figure out a way to do it without confusing people.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by My G25 Coords
    23abc_scaled,0.10927,0.152329,-0.022627,-0.052972,0.006463,-0.010598,-0.003525,0.002308,-0.010431,0.016037,0.002923,-0.006145,-0.003717,0.00523,-0.007736,0.000133,-0.002347,0.008488,0.001006,-0.005253,-0.005865,-0.006801,0.006039,0.00253,0.000718

    23abc,0.0096,0.015,-0.006,-0.0164,0.0021,-0.0038,-0.0015,0.001,-0.0051,0.0088,0.0018,-0.0041,-0.0025,0.0038,-0.0057,0.0001,-0.0018,0.0067,0.0008,-0.0042,-0.0047,-0.0055,0.0049,0.0021,0.0006

  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michalis Moriopoulos View Post
    But I can't find anything about these:

    SephardicJew24276
    SephardicJew24402
    SephardicJew24032
    SephardicJew24392
    So I found these sample ID numbers as coming from Hodoğlugil 2012, but they're listed as Turks from Kayseri. Weird.

    SephardicJew4953 is apparently a Turkish Jew from The National Laboratory for the Genetics of Israeli Populations.
    Ελευθερία ή θάνατος.

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  6. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michalis Moriopoulos View Post
    But I can't find anything about these:

    SephardicJew24276
    SephardicJew24402
    SephardicJew4953
    SephardicJew24032
    SephardicJew24392
    Nice one! I can confirm SephardicJew4953 is a Turkish Jew after hours one time of searching online through the academic papers/supplementary material. Unfortunately I am not sure about the remainder, BUT . . . . I believe SephardicJew24032 & SephardicJew24392 have recent Ashkenazi origins which I've addressed in the main Western Jewish thread.

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  8. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seabass View Post
    I believe SephardicJew24032 & SephardicJew24392 have recent Ashkenazi origins which I've addressed in the main Western Jewish thread.
    Yes, I have them marked as outliers thanks to you.

    By the way, I'm changing most of these samples to West Asian green.
    Ελευθερία ή θάνατος.

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  10. #36
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    Here are DNA results of a Ashkenazi Jew from Living DNA which has no Jewish category



    As you can see, pretty much a mix of Near East and European, with slight African. Is this not more accurate than strictly "European"?

  11. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aiden View Post
    As you can see, pretty much a mix of Near East and European, with slight African. Is this not more accurate than strictly "European"?
    Well, kind of. LivingDNA does some weird stuff sometimes, but this breakdown looks somewhat reasonable in a very rough regional sense, except that they seem to over-assign "Caucasus" to Ashkenazim, when really a good chunk of that should be Levantine (as is borne out by most G25 models, and many other calcs and studies). But this takes us back to the question that several people on this thread have already tackled, which is how to categorize Western Jews within the context of a product marketed to the general public. Yes, if you categorize Ashkenazim based on a "snapshot" of where their ancestors most likely lived a couple thousand years ago, you get a very hybrid population which could potentially be more "Middle Eastern" than "European", depending on where you decide to draw the line. However, as others have pointed out, this is also true of some other populations.

    From the perspective of DNA companies, it makes some sense to place Ashkenazim within Europe, since most customers are probably only interested in where their ancestors lived within the past few hundred years. Of course, the "European" label can lead to confusion, and some willful manipulation of the truth. I've seen numerous comments from apparently not so intelligent people on a number of sites using the "European Jewish" category as "proof" that Ashkenazim are genetically European, with obvious political ramifications.

    There's no perfect approach, and you're never going to satisfy everybody. Personally, like Riverman said, and as I've mentioned on a different thread, I think FTDNA's "Jewish Diaspora" category is the best solution. It undoubtedly leaves some customers asking why there are separate "Jewish" genetic categories at all, but I guess that's part of the journey.

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  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aiden View Post
    It doesn't make sense to me. 23andme labels Ashkenazi Jewish as being "European", AncestryDNA labels them "European Jewish", MyHeritage also labels Jews as European. Don't all Jews, even Ashkenazi, have non-European ancestry? I'm pretty sure Ashkenazi Jews on average are about 40% European 60% Middle Eastern genetically. Why do these DNA testing companies just lump them into Europe and deny their actual mixed background?

    I ask because I came across this https://www.quora.com/What-results-d...-their-results
    Within its logic, Europeans are not European - all Europeans have Neolithic genetics from the Near East. There is no modern European population without genetics from the Near East. European Jews are called European Jews because they have inhabited Europe for hundreds of years and also have European genetics. That simple.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dame View Post
    Within its logic, Europeans are not European - all Europeans have Neolithic genetics from the Near East. There is no modern European population without genetics from the Near East. European Jews are called European Jews because they have inhabited Europe for hundreds of years and also have European genetics. That simple.
    They been called European Jews because there are non-European Jews too, so its also to make a distinction. And they have European genetic, cultural and historical influences. I once read that when Jews from the Muslim world met Ashkenazi communities for the first time they asked whether they are half-Christian, because of the way the lived, prayed and build their synagogues, while Ashkenazi asked the same in the opposite direction, because of the more Islamic and Oriental character of the other Jews culture. Just look at the older synagogue architecture from Europe, some really look like Catholic churches and those from the Near East like Mosques at first:
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Synagogue_architecture
    (Compare Plzeň and Lille vs. Aleppo)

    But if we say Ashkenazi Jews have significant European genetic influences, which is correct, we have to define it or otherwise it would be meaningless. And the basic definition of European genetic fundaments is the mixture which came up in post-steppe Europe. Practically all Europeans can successfully be modelled by pre-Neolithic European hunter gatherer ancestry, Anatolian Neolithic and steppe ancestry, even those at the very fringes overwhelmingly so. These ancestral components were not new in Europe, they lived on the continent for much longer and beyond its geographical borders too, but the specific mixture spread in the Bronze Age. That's also the definition most good papers use if checking for migrations from the wider European sphere to lets say South Asia or the Near East.
    Basically every population which can be modelled overwhelmingly with only these three components and all of them being present with little else, lands on the European PCA. Ashkenazi Jews are almost exactly on the borderline between modern European and Near Eaterners, which means from a purely genetic standpoint you can put them in either (European or Near East) category, but best in their own (like Jewish Diaspora).
    A people which don't plot even near deep rooted Europeans can hardly be put in an European ancestral category. That would be a strange thing to do, because it would be purely cultural or political and no longer genetic or ancestral labelling.
    Many Jewish testers being actually disappointed by just getting Ashkenazi Jewish as a category without further break up of ancestral components. But that too is not just their problem. To break Jewish ancestry into modern ethnicities might be even more misleading in some cases, and like I said above, an ancient and prehistoric ancestry proportions calculation is what most people want to and would be best as an addition to modern ethnicities and geographical groupings. But Ashkenazi should be at least split into Sephardic and Mizrahi ancestral components, if they are there, but probably that's just more complicated to do, so that's why its being avoided. Another aspect is the timeline: The point in time used for the ethnic reference. Because a Jewish reference for 800 CE or 1400 CE or 1900 CE would still make a difference considering the plausible dates for Western, Eastern European and other Jewish admixtures. And the same is true for many people worldwide.
    Last edited by Riverman; 08-01-2020 at 09:51 AM.

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