From Dr. Naomi: Unfortunately there are no male descendants that I know of from my paternal grandfather and my father who were Kohanim: a consequence of the Shoah.
In the first study, as reported in the prestigious British science journal,Nature (January 2, 1997), 188 Jewish males were asked to contribute some cheek cells from which their DNA was extracted for study. Participants from Israel, England and North America were asked to identify whether they were a Kohen, Levi or Israelite, and to identify their family background. The results of the analysis of the Y chromosome markers of the Kohanimand non-Kohanim were indeed significant. A particular marker, (YAP-) was detected in 98.5 percent of the Kohanim, and in a significantly lower percentage on non-Kohanim.
In a second study, Dr. Skorecki and associates gathered more DNA samples and expanded their selection of Y chromosome markers. Solidifying their hypothesis of the Kohens' common ancestor, they found that a particular array of six chromosomal markers were found in 97 of the 106 Kohens tested. This collection of markers has come to be known as the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH)--the standard genetic signature of the Jewish priestly family. The chances of these findings happening at random is greater than one in 10,000. The finding of a common set of genetic markers in both Ashkenazi andSefardi Kohanim worldwide clearly indicates an origin pre-dating the separate development of the two communities around 1000 C.E. Date calculation based on the variation of the mutations among Kohanim today yields a time frame of 106 generations from the ancestral founder of the line, some 3,300 years, the approximate time of the Exodus from Egypt, the lifetime of Aharon HaKohe
Ashkenazi Jews share close genetic ties, September 10, 2014
NEW YORK (JTA) — Ashkenazi Jews can trace their ancestry to a “bottleneck” of just 350 individuals dating back to between 600 and 800 years ago, a new study concludes.
The study, published Tuesday in the Nature Communications journal, was authored by Shai Carmi, a computer science professor at Columbia University, and more than 20 medical researchers from Yale, Columbia, Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and other institutions.
Researchers analyzed genomes of 128 Ashkenazi Jews and compared them to those of nonJewish Europeans in order to determine which genetic markers are unique to the Ashkenazim. They found that the Ashkenazim’s genetic similarities were so acute that one of the study’s researchers, Columbia professor Itsik Pe’er, told the Live Science website that among Ashkenazi Jews, “everyone is a 30th cousin.”
The findings will enable researchers to catalog nearly all of the genetic variations from the founding population, the study’s authors said.
Such thorough genetic cataloging could help clinicians interpret individual genetic mutations, improve disease mapping and provide insight into the histories of Middle Eastern and European populations, the study said.