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A morphological approach to the problem of the biological similarity of Jewish and non-Jewish populations

A morphological approach to the problem of the biological similarity of Jewish and non-Jewish populations
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  ANNALS OF HUMAN BIOLOGY, 1985, VOL. 12, NO. 3, 203-212 A morphological approach to the problem of the biological similarity of Jewish and non Jewish populations E. KOBYLIANSKY and G. LIVSHITS Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University Received 6 A ugust 1984; revised 20 November 1984 Summary. The genetic kinship between various Jewish and non-Jewish groups, from the biochemical standpoint, has been much investigated, frequently with very contradictory conclusions. The present paper reports the results of two comparative analyses of several Jewish and non-Jewish populations as based on morphological measurements of adult males. The first analysis employed data on Jewish and non-Jewish communities from five geographic regions of the world. The dendrogram resulting from the cluster analysis clearly indicates that Jewish populations are much closer to one another than to non-Jewish neighbour groups. In the second analysis, 25 ethnoterritorial groups of the USSR (one Jewish and the rest non-Jewish) were evaluated on the basis of 27 anthropometric characters. The latter Jewish group was markedly separate from the other 24 ethnic groups, and especially distinct when only traits with high coefficients of heritability were employed. 1. Introduction The genetic relationship between various Jewish and non-Jewish populations has been repeatedly debated in the literature. Recent studies on the distribution of bio- chemical markers in these populations have led to very contradictory conclusions. For example, Mourant, Kopec and Domaniewska-Sobczak (1978) maintained that 'each major Jewish community as a whole bears some resemblance to the indigenous peoples of the regions where it first developed'. Along the same line, the evaluation by Morton, Kenett, Yee and Lew (1982) of admixture between Jewish and non-Jewish groups showed very high levels of intermixing (the levels of intermixture ranged between 47.1 and 100 for different paired comparisons). Similarly, Chakraborty and Weiss (1982), who compared four Jewish and four non-Jewish populations, concluded that Nei's standard genetic distance measures indicate that the Jewish populations are genetically close to their geographically neighbouring gentile populations. On the other hand, however, Kobyliansky, Micle, Goldschmidt-Nathan, Arensburg and Nathan (1982) showed that the genetic similarity between the majority of the Jewish populations is significantly greater than that between Jewish and non- Jewish populations. It has further been shown that the proportion of diversity among and the Wright standard genetic variance (Fst) between populations of Jews, are lower than for comparable non-Jewish populations (Kobyliansky and Livshits 1983). Karlin, Kenett and Bonne-Tamir (1979), using a non-parametric statistical methodology to analyze biochemical frequency data obtained on a series of nine Jewish and six non- Jewish populations, showed clear similarity between large Jewish communities, whereas the non-Jewish groups were distinctly separate. The overall result of this and most other investigations was merely the significant segregation (from among Jewish as well as non-Jewish populations) of small and isolated Jewish groups (like Samaritans, Habbanites and Yemenites). However, as noted by Kobyliansky and Micle (1982), the random genetic drift is sufficient to explain any departures of these communities from the characteristic Jewish gene frequencies.    A  n  n   H  u  m    B   i  o   l   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   f  r  o  m    i  n   f  o  r  m  a   h  e  a   l   t   h  c  a  r  e .  c  o  m    b  y   T  e   l   A  v   i  v   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o  n   0   8   /   1   5   /   1   5   F  o  r  p  e  r  s  o  n  a   l  u  s  e  o  n   l  y .  204 E. Kobyliansky and G. Livshits Thus, the question of the degree of genetic similarity between diverse Jewish and non-Jewish populations awaits further research and resolution. Morton (1982), replying to numerous comments on his analysis, wrote: 'those who reject the present evidence for substantial admixture have an obligation to support their position with objective, quantitative arguments, necessarily based on biological data... '. The present paper offers the results of a comparative analysis of some Jewish and non-Jewish populations based on morphological measurements of adult males. The study included two sets of populations, differing in their trait composition. .. :ii :, \ / • , ...... e.o,-,_ i _ :_ Figure 1. Geographical ocation of 25 ethnic groups (including 23 USSR populations); circles ndicate the position of the samples according to Purundjan (1978). (1) Azerbaijans, (2) Armenians, (3) Byelorussians, (4) Georgians, (5) Jews, (6) Kazakhs, (7) Kirghiss, (8) Koreans, (9) Letts, (10) Lithuanians, (11) Moldavians, (12) Mordvinians, (13) Germans, (14) Poles, (15) Russians, (16) Tajiks, (17) Tatars-1, (18) Tatars-2, (19) Turkmens, (20) Uzbecks-1, (21) Uzbeks-2, (22) Uzbeks-3, (23) Ukranians, (24) Chuvashis, (25) Estonians.    A  n  n   H  u  m    B   i  o   l   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   f  r  o  m    i  n   f  o  r  m  a   h  e  a   l   t   h  c  a  r  e .  c  o  m    b  y   T  e   l   A  v   i  v   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o  n   0   8   /   1   5   /   1   5   F  o  r  p  e  r  s  o  n  a   l  u  s  e  o  n   l  y .  Similarity of Jew h and non-Jewish populations 205 2. Material and methods For a first comparison, we analyzed the data on Jewish and non-Jewish populations from five geographical regions: East Europe; Central Europe; South Europe; Middle East (but only on the indigenous Jewish population); North Africa. The following traits were included in the analysis: Weight; stature; bi-acromial diameter; bi-iliac diameter; bi-acromial diameter/sitting height; and weight/stature. Data on morphological traits of Jews were adopted from Medalie, Kahn, Neufeld, Groen and Riss (1968), on non- Jews from the three European regions, from Eveleth and Tanner (1976) and on North African gentiles, from El Batrawi (1964). We used only data on males. All Jewish groups were represented by individuals aged 40-44 years, and measurements within this age group were made in 1963 and partly in 1965. Ages of European non-Jewish males ranged between 20 and 39 years and the appropriate data on them were extracted from Eveleth and Tanner (1976) which relied on studies published during 1967-1970. Use was made also of the data of El Batrawi (1964) obtained in 1958/59 on physical traits of adult males over 19 years of age (the sample sizes for five geographical regions (Jews and non-Jews) vary between 386 and 1084 individuals). The compared groups displayed only negligible differences that could have stemmed from a secular trend. Pairwise morphological associations among the groups were obtained by the Euclidean distance (Lalouel 1980): D= (Xik- Xjk) 2 1 where D is the morphological difference between two populations (i and j), X is the mean value of the kth trait in these populations, and n is the number of traits. Since many of the morphological traits could not be compared, all the traits were standardized by dividing each mean value by its standard deviation (= s.d. between groups). Thus, X actually represents not the average but rather X/s.d. The results of calculations were further subjected to a cluster analysis (UPGMA Method) which in turn led to the construction of simple dendrograms. For the second set of populations we used Kurshakova's (1978, 1980) and Purundjan's (1978) data on 27 anthropometric characters (listed in the table) for 25 ethnoterritorial groups of the USSR, Poland and Germany, including, among others, European Jews. Each of these groups (excluding only Russians and Ukranians) was represented by a sample of approximately 45 young males aged 18-25 years. The Russian and Ukranian groups comprised 26 and 10 samples, respectively, taken from the European part of the USSR. The geographical location of the samples is shown in figure 1. These data were converted to a similar statistical analysis. 3. Results Five geographic regions The dendrogram resulting from the cluster analysis is presented in figure 2. It is evident that Jewish populations are much closer to one another than to non-Jewish groups, forming a separate cluster. Morphological distances (D) ranged from 0.228 (between Central and South European Jewish groups) to 6.558 (between Central European Jewish and North African non-Jewish populations), with an average of 3 216. The average value of D between Jewish communities was 0.780, and between Jews and non-Jews 4-044.    A  n  n   H  u  m    B   i  o   l   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   f  r  o  m    i  n   f  o  r  m  a   h  e  a   l   t   h  c  a  r  e .  c  o  m    b  y   T  e   l   A  v   i  v   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o  n   0   8   /   1   5   /   1   5   F  o  r  p  e  r  s  o  n  a   l  u  s  e  o  n   l  y .  206 E. Kobyliansky and G. Livshits Table. List of anthropometric traits used in cluster analysis. 1. Vertex-suprasternal height 2. Trunk length 3. Thigh length 4. Tibial height 5. Foot length 6. Hand length 7. Digit III: first phalangeal length 8. Digit III: second phalangeal length 9. Upper arm length 10. Forearm length 11. Breadth of humeral slope 12. Bi-acromial breadth 13. Bi-iliac breadth 14. Foot breadth 15. Dorsum-heel circumference 16. Head circumference 17. Neck circumference 18. Mesosternal chest circumference 19. Waist circumference 20. Thigh circumference 21. Calf circumference 22. Upper arm circumference 23. Forearm circumference 24. Wrist circumference 25. Subscapular skinfold 26. Upper arm skinfold 27. Arch of upper trunk passing over the humeral point 0.0 1.2 2.4 3.6 4.; 6.0 123456 78 9 IT I Figure 2. Dendrogram resulting from cluster analysis of morphological distances between some Jewish (1-5) and non-Jewish (6-9) populations. (1, 6) Central Europe, (2, 7) South Europe, (3, 9) North Africa, (4, 8) East Europe, (5) Middle East.    A  n  n   H  u  m    B   i  o   l   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   f  r  o  m    i  n   f  o  r  m  a   h  e  a   l   t   h  c  a  r  e .  c  o  m    b  y   T  e   l   A  v   i  v   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o  n   0   8   /   1   5   /   1   5   F  o  r  p  e  r  s  o  n  a   l  u  s  e  o  n   l  y .  Similarity of Jewish and non-Jewish populations 207 The extruding population was the North African non-Jewish group, with a mean morphological distance of 5.802 from the other populations. It should be noted that this group comprised a Bedouin population inhabiting the western desert of North Africa, and thus sequestered from and living in a very different environment than the other studied populations. The differences in environmental conditions between European Jews and non-Jews living in the same country were hardly greater than those between Jewish (or non-Jewish) populations living in different countries. Nevertheless, there was a significantly closer similarity between the Jews from various geographical areas than between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities from the same area. Hence, it is likely that such similarity of dissimilarity derives significantly from the genetic background. This is indeed suggested from our cluster analysis of 25 ethno- territorial groups of the USSR. Comparison of the USSR populations Since the Jewish sample in the present study was taken from the European part of the USSR, we can expect a priori that it will be near to the Russian (or Ukranian, or Byelorussian) group with which it has been in social and geographical contact for a long period of time. However, as can be seen in figure 3, the Jewish population is far removed from the Russian one, as well as from any other. The average morphological distance between such different populations, as listed in figure 3, was 42.87 whereas the O 20- 40 60 80- 100 120 147 227 I 2 20 7 14 15 13 18 23 1 I 3 10 12 4 19 16 21 22 24 17 IT 8 9 25 Figure 3. Dendrogram resulting from cluster analysis of morphological distances between 25 ethnic groups of the USSR. 5 represents the Jewish populations: Assignation of the other populations is given in figure 1.    A  n  n   H  u  m    B   i  o   l   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   f  r  o  m    i  n   f  o  r  m  a   h  e  a   l   t   h  c  a  r  e .  c  o  m    b  y   T  e   l   A  v   i  v   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o  n   0   8   /   1   5   /   1   5   F  o  r  p  e  r  s  o  n  a   l  u  s  e  o  n   l  y .
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