The Lemba are a southern African Bantu-speaking population claiming Jewish ancestry. Allele frequencies at four different Y-specific polymorphic loci, as well as extended-haplotype frequencies that included data from several loci, were analyzed in an attempt to establish the genetic affinities and origins of the Lemba. The results suggest that > or = 50% of the Lemba Y chromosomes are Semitic in origin, approximately 40% are Negroid, and the ancestry of the remainder cannot be resolved. These Y-specific genetic findings are consistent with Lemba oral tradition, and analysis of the history of Jewish people and their association with Africa indicates that the historical facts are not incompatible with theories concerning the origin of the Lemba.
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