(JTA) – Israeli geneticists have linked a Native American population in Colorado to Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition.
Geneticists at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv discovered the genetic mutation marker BRCA1 in a group of Mexican Indians who had emigrated from Mexico to the United States over the past 200 years and settled in Colorado, Haaretz reported Wednesday.
BRCA1 is found in Jews of Ashkenazi origin and leads to a higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancer.
Researchers say the mutation found in the Colorado Indians is identical to that of Ashkenazim, according to Haaretz, and dates to a period more than 600 years ago. Jews were expelled from Spain in the 15th century.
Researchers say this offers genetic proof that some of the Jews expelled from Spain who reached South America intermarried with the indigenous population, whose descendants later migrated to Mexico and then the United States, Haaretz reported.
Colorado’s Mexican Indians do not have any traditions that link them to Jews, according to Eitan Friedman, who headed the Sheba team.