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Genomes from a medieval mass burial show Ashkenazi-associated hereditary diseases pre-date the 12th century

Brace, Selina; Diekmann, Yoan; Booth, Thomas; Macleod, Ruairidh; Timpson, Adrian; Stephen, Will; Emery, Giles; ... Barnes, Ian; + view all (2022) Genomes from a medieval mass burial show Ashkenazi-associated hereditary diseases pre-date the 12th century. Current Biology 10.1016/j.cub.2022.08.036. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

We report genome sequence data from six individuals excavated from the base of a medieval well at a site in Norwich, UK. A revised radiocarbon analysis of the assemblage is consistent with these individuals being part of a historically attested episode of antisemitic violence on 6 February 1190 CE. We find that four of these individuals were closely related and all six have strong genetic affinities with modern Ashkenazi Jews. We identify four alleles associated with genetic disease in Ashkenazi Jewish populations and infer variation in pigmentation traits, including the presence of red hair. Simulations indicate that Ashkenazi-associated genetic disease alleles were already at appreciable frequencies, centuries earlier than previously hypothesized. These findings provide new insights into a significant historical crime, into Ashkenazi population history, and into the origins of genetic diseases associated with modern Jewish populations.

Type: Article
Title: Genomes from a medieval mass burial show Ashkenazi-associated hereditary diseases pre-date the 12th century
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.08.036
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2022.08.036
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. Under a Creative Commons license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Ashkenazi, Britain, Jewish, Medieval, ancient DNA, genetic disease
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155321
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