Hum Immunol. 2001 Sep;62(9):889-900.

The origin of Palestinians and their genetic relatedness with other Mediterranean populations.

Arnaiz-Villena A, Elaiwa N, Silvera C, Rostom A, Moscoso J, Gomez-Casado E, Allende L, Varela P, Martinez-Laso J.

Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology, H. 12 de Octubre, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain. aarnaiz@eucmax.sim.ucm.es

The genetic profile of Palestinians has, for the first time, been studied by using human leukocyte antigen (HLA) gene variability and haplotypes. The comparison with other Mediterranean populations by using neighbor-joining dendrograms and correspondence analyses reveal that Palestinians are genetically very close to Jews and other Middle East populations, including Turks (Anatolians), Lebanese, Egyptians, Armenians, and Iranians. Archaeologic and genetic data support that both Jews and Palestinians came from the ancient Canaanites, who extensively mixed with Egyptians, Mesopotamian, and Anatolian peoples in ancient times. Thus, Palestinian-Jewish rivalry is based in cultural and religious, but not in genetic, differences. The relatively close relatedness of both Jews and Palestinians to western Mediterranean populations reflects the continuous circum-Mediterranean cultural and gene flow that have occurred in prehistoric and historic times. This flow overtly contradicts the demic diffusion model of western Mediterranean populations substitution by agriculturalists coming from the Middle East in the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition.