Eran Elhaik

Eran Elhaik

Member since: April 28, 2012

A Little About Me

I have been fascinated with the Khazars ever since I read the "Dictionary of the Khazars" (M.Pavić) and "The 13th Tribe" (A.Koestler). However, at that time there wasn't much I could do because I was serving in the Israeli army, unable to travel to foreign countries. At that time, the first human genome was sequenced, but who would have imagined that within less than a decade thousands of samples would be available to study? In 2010, I was excited to learn that a large number of Jews and Caucasus populations were genotyped. Trained as a population geneticist at the Johns Hopkins University, I began analyzing the data to test the Khazarian Hypothesis for the first time.

My findings revealed a unique Caucasus signature that is widely common in Caucasus populations but very rare in all other populations, except for European Jews. I became convinced that this signature may indicate a Khazarian ancestry (As this is the only common ancestors European Jews share with Caucasus populations). Naturally, I asked the following question: Is this signature unique to European Jews and Caucasus people or does it exist in other populations? In other words, did all the Judaized Khazars merge with Jewish populations or their descendents live elsewhere? To answer these questions, I decided to carry a genetic survey encompassing a huge number of populations.

No population geneticists have previoulsy addressed the Khazarian hypothesis through the DNA of living people. My research at Johns Hopkins University focuses on the distribution of genetic variation in human populations. I am also consulting for a large non-profit organization carrying large genotyping studies. My work blends anthropological theory, history, and both classical and advanced population genetics to trace ancient populations through the DNA of modern populations.