Daily Israel Report

Researchers Find Native Americans with Ashkenazi Jewish Mutation

Israeli geneticists have found that a tribe of Native American Indians may have a genetic mutation typical of Ashkenazi Jews.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 5/31/2012, 3:01 PM

Indian tribe
Indian tribe
Reuters

Israeli geneticists have found that a tribe of Native American Indians may have a genetic mutation typical of Ashkenazi Jews.

The genetic mutation is a harmful modification in the BRCA1 gene, prevalent among Jews of Eastern European descent, which increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Researchers from the Sheba Medical Center in Israel have found the genetic mutation in the DNA of descendants of a Native American Tribe who migrated from Mexico to Colorado some 200 years ago.

A report published in the European Journal of Human Genetics indicates that the two groups may share the common ancestor of Christopher Columbus, the legendary man who moved from Europe to the New World approximately 600 years ago, the same time that the Jewish population was expelled from Spain.

The mutation has also been traced in Hispanic Americans whose ancestors also arrived in the United States from Mexico and South America.

The group of scientists, led my Eitan Friedman, noted, however,  that Colorado’s Mexican Indians do not seem to have any traditions that would link them to Jews.