Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New Journal on Genetic Genealogy

A few days ago I learned about the launch of a new peer-reviewed online journal called the Journal of Genetic Genealogy (JOGG). While other journals have covered genetic genealogy on a regular basis, this is the first journal to be dedicated to the subject. The premier issue features a fascinating review of current research on Jewish genetic genealogy. The article takes issue with researchers and journalists who have over-simplified the complex history of Jewish genetics. It also makes a compelling case for the admixture of genes from Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and the Khazars, a Turkic people from north of the Black Sea that converted en masse to Judaism. Scholars have gone back and forth as to whether there's a noticeable Khazar imprint on the genes of today's Ashkenazic Jews; this article asserts that the Khazar connection needs to be taken seriously, and offers plenty of research to back it up. I was also fascinated by a related discussion on a Y chromosome connection between Jews, Scandinavians and Native Americans, some of whom may share a common ancestor -- via the Y chromosome mutation known as Haplogroup Q - by way of central Eurasia tens of thousands of years ago.

The other thing that impressed me about the new journal is that the articles are all freely available - ie, you're not stuck with reading just the abstracts, as is the case with so many journals. Even better, the journal uses Creative Commons licenses as a way of encouraging members of the public, scholars and educators to reproduce their articles, as long as it's done for noncommercial purposes.

From the looks of the first issue, JOGG is off to a great start. I can't wait to read it on a regular basis. -andy


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