March 27, 2008

Christian and Muslim Lebanese do differ from each other after all

Like I said they did in 2007. BBC has a story about this:
The team analysed the Y chromosomes of 926 Lebanese males and found that patterns of male genetic variation in Lebanon fell more along religious lines than along geographical lines.

A genetic signature on the male chromosome called WES1, which is usually only found in European populations, was found among the Lebanese men included in the study.

"It seems to have come in from Europe and is found mostly in the Christian population," said Dr Spencer Wells, director of the Genographic Project.

"This is odd because typically we don't see this sort of stratification by religion when we are looking at the relative proportions of these lineages - and particularly immigration events."

He told BBC News: "Looking at the same data set, we saw a similar enrichment of lineages coming in from the Arabian Peninsula in the Muslim population which we didn't see [as often] in the Christian population."

Lebanese Muslim men were found to have high frequencies of a Y chromosome grouping known as J1. This is typical of populations originating from the Arabian Peninsula, who were involved in the Muslim expansion.

As I predicted, the finding of similarity between Christian and Muslim Lebanese in the older National Geographic story on Wells' and Zalloua's work was premature, based on their common possession of Y-haplogroup J, because it did not look at downstream markers which differentiate between Christians and Muslims. As I observed based on the work of Capelli et al., it is the overrepresentation of Y-haplogroup J*(xJ2), which comprises almost entirely of J1 chromosomes that is the mark of the Arab descent of Muslim Lebanese.

I will post the abstract of this study and any further comments when I see it.

UPDATE: The Genographic project has its own page on this research, as well as a link to the paper (pdf).

Y-Chromosomal Diversity in Lebanon Is Structured by Recent Historical Events

Pierre A. Zalloua et al.

Lebanon is an eastern Mediterranean country inhabited by approximately four million people with a wide variety of ethnicities and religions, including Muslim, Christian, and Druze. In the present study, 926 Lebanese men were typed with Y-chromosomal SNP and STR markers, and unusually, male genetic variation within Lebanon was found to be more strongly structured by religious affiliation than by geography.We therefore tested the hypothesis that migrations within historical times could have contributed to this situation. Y-haplogroup J*(xJ2) was more frequent in the putative Muslim source region (the Arabian Peninsula) than in Lebanon, and it was also more frequent in Lebanese Muslims than in Lebanese non-Muslims. Conversely, haplogroup R1b was more frequent in the putative Christian source region (western Europe) than in Lebanon and was also more frequent in Lebanese Christians than in Lebanese non-
Christians. The most common R1b STR-haplotype in Lebanese Christians was otherwise highly specific for western Europe and was unlikely to have reached its current frequency in Lebanese Christians without admixture.We therefore suggest that the Islamic expansion from the Arabian Peninsula beginning in the seventh century CE introduced lineages typical of this area into those who subsequently became Lebanese Muslims, whereas the Crusader activity in the 11th-13th centuries CE introduced western European lineages into Lebanese Christians.


Crimson Guard said...

The last time around it was J2 which differentiated the two populations, which makes sense that the Christians would've been Pre-Saudi Arab. Now though their saying its R1b. Wonder what clade it is though? Because R1b Haplotype 35 is typical and very high in the Near East and Caucasus. R1b also wouldve migrated to the Near East before reaching Western Europe as well. So is it wise to be using the Crusaders?

Unknown said...

Lebanon Sample Size: 935
R1b: 97 ~ 10%

Interpretation of sets(not balls)

Lebanese Christians 5%
Muslim 1.5 % Druze 3.5%

Druze are always a mystery.

Can they deny that the majority substream is J* in Lebanon irrespective of religion.

cacio said...

I think the introduction overstates the size of the muslim christian difference. I think the paper really makes shows that there _are_ differences, but doesn't really interpret their size.

The overall picture is similar across the two populations. The differences are that R1b is about 5% in Muslim vs 11 in non-muslims, and J1 is 15 vs 25. Smaller differences are found in other haplogroups. As Dienekes pointed out, this is broadly in line with Capelli.

Also, the West European signature of R1b was found in about 2% of Christian Lebanese (about 20% of the R1b). In relation to crimson guard's comment, I didn't understand whether the rest of the R1b could be classified as Turkish or European. I think in the admixture analysis when they come up with the 10% estimate of European admixture, they must assume that all R1b is European. But I didn't understand their statistical method much.


pconroy said...

I have a Y-STR fairly close match in Syria, I'm Irish and R1b1c7

Ned said...

It's worth noting what the BB report actually says "....the faint genetic traces left by medieval crusaders ........some Christian men in Lebanon carry a DNA signature hailing from Western Europe......"
So it's not much.

Unknown said...

good point.
Some of it can be J2,I and R1a also.

miz RAND BLOWTON said...

The research is not genetically surprising as there's always a possibility of admixture through the eras ,due to upheavels,wars,or intermarriage.Are there any plain authentic Lebanese,or are they all taken over by those of the Arabian peninsula and the European Crusaders?I thought the above comments were very good,that only a few Labanese are admixed with Europeans (since population numbers matter as well as genes);and I liked the comment that many Lebanese are already R1b naturally since there are many kinds of R1b.These two observations round out the whole story-to me.

Anonymous said...

It is fairly old news; that Christian Lebanese and Muslim Lebanese differ genetically and that the Muslims have Peninsula Arabian "fathers".

Capelli et al found that out some years ago.

J1 is my haplogroup so I take an interest in it. Recent studies of Arab Y chromosomes, Cadenas et al, found that Arab Y chromosomes had a Northern origin and are basically post Neolithic in age. Arabs have high frequencies of J1 but their J1 are not very diverse whereas European, Ethiopian and Cis-Caucasian J1s are very diverse and with European and Ethiopian J1 not as frequent as in Arabia but are older. Cis-Caucasian J1s are frequent and diverse.

The story about J1 and its origin point, migration routes are still to be fully fleshed out but Arabia is not the source and its high frequency there has more to do with inbreeding (high cousin/cousin coupling, particularly the Yemeni) and and the practice of having more than one wife.

Lethe said...

People who were referred to as Arabs predate the Islamic expansion by millenniums.
King Gindibu of Arab Lands is mentioned by Shalmaneser III the King of Assyria in the Battle of Qarqar which lays in Northern Syria. These Arabs ally with Aramaic speaking people who were of nomadic origin themselves.

terryt said...

All the people in Canaan are basically the same. Sure, this post demonstrates there has been some degree of admixture from outside since they decided to belong to different tribes, starting around 3000 years ago.

Johngregoia said...

i am sorry, i cant support the theory, because the descendants of middle east including Saudi Arabia, Israel,Syria,Lebanon....etc are the descendants of Abraham, Am i correct,
So i think the the genetic proof now you shown may be because of inter caste marriage, moreover British People rule over Middle East for long time...OK bye

Anonymous said...

The wikipedia entry for the Battle of Karkar says 853 BCE, a date obtained from some stele. So a people called Arabs existed in 853 BCE. Arab is a metaethnicity today composed of number of peoples whose ancestors were not Arabs or spoke Arabic. And 853 BCE to when Islam was founded by Muhammad is not millenia. According to Middle Eastern/Peninsula Arabian legends Arabs are the descendants of Abraham through Ismael,naturalised Arabs and descendants of Joktan, true Arabs.
Johngregoia, J1 is 24,000 years old (Semino, Rootsi), much older than any ethnic group or Middle Eastern derived religous beliefs like Islam, Judaism or Christianity.
J1 exists in Europe, North Africa, NE Africa, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula and the Caucasus. It is found among Pakistanis, Indians, Iranis and other Asian men. There are more centres of high J1 in existence than in Arabs.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys, here's my interpretation.

First off, the other study/story completely ignores history. Notice they talk about "crusaders" quite a bit but that's clearly not where this "european" DNA comes from. For one thing, we know that because crusaders never went to most of the places that they tested at all. For the ones that did we have a really good idea how much DNA we'd expect to find remaining, very little.

There's also m269 the predominant west euro haplotype at significant levels in all parts of north africa, turkey, and middle east even though it seemingly originated in basque country.

King tut's haplotype is also m269.

For the northern tuareg, there's also m269 in them at levels of ONE THIRD.

What does that mean? It had to come from being near a large source of it for a long time and that source would simply have to be...northern africa.

The obvious interpretation about J being so homogenous is simple. It's only very recently expanded into a broad range. All ancient records of persian areas and coastal areas of mediterannean show people to be much different than they are today. Dark and semitic looks are not how the middle east used to be, that only came with the 'muslim expansion' which really was the sudden collapse of the western roman empire.

So the obvious answer is the chaldeans are not mixed with 'crusaders' but they are old holdouts of thousands of years ago who have so far avoided integrating with the new-come Js. Which of course is what they themselves maintained, and the only thing that seems to have obvious support by history. Especially when you see that if anything has been proven by all this technology recently it's that peoples move around a lot and also get assimilated a lot as well.

The previous study was a fairy tale designed to shut up a politically oppressed minority, nothing more, nothing less.

AF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

All Lebanese descend from Phoenicians and Canaanites, no matter what one's religious background. Lebanese Christians have a bit more European blood and Muslims have a bit more Arab blood. Christian families converted to Islam over the last 1400 years, and Muslim and Druze families converted to Christianity, so such generalizations don't always hold true.

When the Muslims of Arabia conquered lands, they didn't repopulate the area with Arabians. Rather the local Christian, Jewish, and Pagan people converted, with only a small portion of the new Muslim population being immigrants from Arabia. If this wasn't the case, all Muslims in Arab speaking lands would look like western Arabians, which they clearly don't.

To the guy who said that "dark semetic looks" are new to the region, I have yet to find one place on earth other than modern day Brazil where a foreign race occupied and bred with the local populace to create a new mixed race. Rather, in the case of Mexico, central America, most countries in South America, South Africa, Australia, the USA, and YES the Middle East, the indigenous population took the language and religion of the invading armies, but not the DNA.

AF said...

There is honestly not a big difference between the two group except in R1b Christians 8.7/ Muslims 4.6, but
E1b- Christians/15.9, Muslims/18.3
J2- Christians/32.7, Muslims/28.5
J1- Christian/16.0, Muslims/19.5
You can see that the differences are not that great and very minor. Also just because J1 is seen to be greater in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc. does not mean it isn't native to Lebanon and someone with J1 is not guaranteed to have an Arabian descent. In the end, everyone is mixed which leads to our modern Lebanese population which, in my opinion, is mostly made up out of the descendants of the Phoenicians/Canaanites.

Unknown said...

Bravo, I agree with you. Furthermore, light eyes originated in the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean.