April 20, 2016

Positive: DNA sat nav uncovers ancient Ashkenaz and predicts where Yiddish originated

The origin of Yiddish, the millennium old language of Ashkenazic Jews, is something that linguists have questioned for decades. Now, a pioneering tool — the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) — which converts DNA data into its ancestral coordinates, has helped scientists pinpoint that the DNA of Yiddish speakers could have originated from four ancient villages in north-eastern Turkey. The research, led by Dr Eran Elhaik from the University of Sheffield, suggests the Yiddish language was invented by Iranian and Ashkenazic Jews as they traded on the Silk Road.

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