Ashkenazi Actually Two Separate Populations?

In common parlance, Eastern and Central European Jews are practically synonymous with Ashkenazi Jews and are considered a single entity (Tian et al. 2008; Atzmon et al. 2010; Behar et al. 2010). However, the term is misleading, for the Hebrew word “Ashkenaz” was applied to Germany in medieval rabbinical literature—contributing to the narrative that modern Eastern European Jewry originated on the Rhine. We thus refrained from using the term “Ashkenazi Jews.” Jews were roughly subdivided into Eastern (Belorussia, Latvia, Poland, and Romania) and Central (Germany, Netherlands, and Austria) European Jews. In congruence with the literature that considers “Ashkenazi Jews” distinct from “Sephardic Jews,” we excluded the later.


Atzmon G, et al . Abraham’s children in the genome era: major Jewish diaspora populations comprise distinct genetic clusters with shared Middle Eastern ancestry. Am J Hum Genet. 2010;86:850-859.


Behar DM, et al . The genome-wide structure of the Jewish people. Nature 2010;466:238-242.


Tian C, et al . Analysis and application of European genetic substructure using 300 K SNP information. PLoS Genet. 2008;4:e4.

-- Eran Elhaik

from "The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses"

Quoted on Mon Feb 4th, 2013