Referring to this article Surprise: Ashkenazi Jews Are Genetically European.

But a new study suggests that at least their (Ashkenazi Jews) maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe.

Though the finding may seem intuitive, it contradicts the notion that European Jews mostly descend from people who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago

However another part of the article seems to contradict itself:

Past research found that 50 percent to 80 percent of DNA from the Ashkenazi Y chromosome, which is used to trace the male lineage, originated in the Near East, Richards said.

My question: So which is which? Is it true that Ashkenazi Jews are actually more European than Semitic genetically? Any other studies that backup or refute this claim?

Note: Just in case if you are not clear here, semitic here means "people whose ancestors are Middle East people, specifically, whose ancestors were displaced around the globe some 2000 years ago after Israel as a country was conquered by Babylonians"

  • Where you've asked about "Semitic" did you mean Sephardic?
    – Jamiec
    Sep 16, 2015 at 8:20
  • @Jamiec, no, of course not. I mean "people who descend from Jews who left Israel & Middle East some 2000 years ago"
    – Graviton
    Sep 16, 2015 at 8:35
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    Ok, just checking - sometimes people barely understand the differences (including me - and I'm a member of one of those clubs! ;)
    – Jamiec
    Sep 16, 2015 at 8:59
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    NB the article's claim is not about DNA generally, but about mitochondrial DNA specifically. Indeed, the article explicitly states that the Y-chromosome evidence goes in the other direction.
    – 410 gone
    Sep 16, 2015 at 10:02
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    @Graviton your claim is "is it true that Ashkenazi Jews are actually more European than Semitic genetically". Whereas the article's claim is that the mitochondrial DNA of Ashkenazi Jews is 80% European, and that 50-80% of the Y-chromosome originated in the Near East.
    – 410 gone
    Sep 16, 2015 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


Per Shai Carmi et.al. in 2014, "Ashkenazi Jews have an even admixture of European and Middle Eastern origins."

Modelling of ancient histories for AJ and European populations using their joint allele frequency spectrum determines AJ to be an even admixture of European and likely Middle Eastern origins. We date the split between the two ancestral populations to ≈12–25 Kyr, suggesting a predominantly Near Eastern source for the repopulation of Europe after the Last Glacial Maximum.

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