Are Arabs genetically indistinguishable from Caucasians
‘Arab’ as term refers to persons who speak Arabic as their native language, share same or similar traditions, and have same or similar origins- ‘Arab’ is not a race, it is an identity (Boosahda, 2010). The answer to whether Arabs are genetically indistinguishable from Caucasians, can vary when considering the specific geographical area the origins of certain Arabs come from. For instance, the Lebanese population as a whole is mainly Caucasian with certain Asian traits (Teebi, 2010). Arabs are considered to belong to the Semitic branch of the Caucasian race, originating from the indigenous people of the Arabian Peninsula (Boosahda, 2010).
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What is interesting, is that the maternal ancestral lineages of Arabic countries are diverse. For instance, the haplogroups of the Near East were Mt L3 and Mt HV1 haplogroup (Yemen); and in Syria there is a European Maternal gene flow, which can also be seen in Algeria and Tunisia where the rare Scandinavian European U8 haplogroup is present (Zahery et al, 2011).
The Arabs of today are mainly descendants of Phoenicians, Assyrians and Babylonians with predominantly J2 and minority haplogroups (E1b1b, G, J1, L, Q, R1a, R1b, T) (Hay, 2016). What is wrongly perceived, is that the Arabic language predates J1 and J2, 31 000 years old, which is actually incorrect as the Arabic language is roughly 1500 old. Moreover, the J1-L858 subclade (5,000 years old), ‘associated with Southwest Asian people, very clearly predates the Arabic language… is also found among the Jews (especially Z640 subclade), Lebanese, Syrians and Iraqi’ (Hay, 2016:np). This means that it covers the whole region where ancient Semitic languages were spoken, significantly before the Arabic language even existed. Therefore, it could be said that Arabs are indeed Caucasians with different traits and characteristics.
Maciamo Hay, (2016). Genetics. Eupedia. http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_J1_Y-DNA.shtml?fb_action_ids=411132552320095&fb_action_types=og.likes&action_object_map=%7B%22411132552320095%22%3A10150381674579635%7D&action_type_map=%7B%22411132552320095%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%7B%22411132552320095%22%3A%22.UjY7iEMXbbM.like
Al-Zahery, N; Pala, M; Battaglia, V; Grugni, V; Hamod, MA; Hooshiar Kashani, B; Olivieri, A; Torroni, A; Santachiara-Benerecetti, AS; Semino, O. (2011). In search of the genetic footprints of Sumerians: a survey of Y-chromosome and mtDNA variation in the Marsh Arabs of Iraq. BMC Evolutionary Biology.
A Teebi. (2010). Genetic Disorders Among Arab Populations. Springer Science & Business Media.
E Boosahda, (2010) Arab-American Faces and Voices: The Origins of an Immigrant Community. Texas: University of Texas Press.
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