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With the exception of Ethiopian Jews and Indian Jews, it has been argued that all of the various Jewish populations have components of mitochondrial genomes that were of Middle Eastern origin. published work suggesting that an overwhelming majority of Ashkenazi Jewish maternal ancestry, estimated at "80 percent of Ashkenazi maternal ancestry comes from women indigenous to Europe, and [only] 8 percent from the Near East, with the rest uncertain", suggesting that Jewish males migrated to Europe and took new wives from the local population, and converted them to Judaism.
Another study by Eva Fernandez and her colleagues argues that the K lineages (claimed to be European in origin by Richards et al) in Ashkenazi Jews might have an ancient Near Eastern source.
Elhaik replied that the DNA of non-Ashkenazic Jews would not effect the origin of DNA hypothesized for the former. Dovid Katz, founder of Vilnius University’s Yiddish Institute savaged the study’s linguistic analysis.
“The authors have melded accurate but contextually meaningless genetic correlations with laughable linguistic theories that now proliferate, sadly, as a consequence of a much weakened Yiddish academic environment internationally".
Behar and colleagues have remarked on an especially close relationship between Ashkenazi Jews and modern Italians, particularly Tuscans.Genetic studies on Jews are part of the population genetics discipline and are used to better understand the chronology of migration provided by research in other fields, such as history, archaeology, linguistics, and paleontology.These studies investigate the origins of various Jewish populations today.Two studies in 20 suggested that about 40% of Ashkenazi Jews originate maternally from just four female founders which are likely of Near-Eastern origin, while the populations of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities "showed no evidence for a narrow founder effect".Evidence for female founders has been observed in other Jewish populations.
While he allows that in the future it is possible that a ‘Jewish’ marker may turn up, so far, in his view, Jewishness turns out to be socially defined (a socionome), determined by non-genetic factors.