Ashkenazi Jews are simply Jews who are descended from the lines that settled in the Rhineland during the Medieval times. The Rhineland is all of West Germany and a small portion of Northern France. Many simply consider Ashkenazi Jews to be “German Jews”. However, from the medieval times many Jewish families would migrate to areas such as Poland, Hungary, Russia, Lithuania, and other areas in Eastern Europe. Today when the term Ashkenazi Jews is used they simply think of Jewish people of Eastern European descent. Today over 80 percent of all Jews are Ashkenazi.
Natural selection normally eliminates damaged and deadly DNA from the gene pool so that the species can survive and thrive. But this did not appear to have happened or be happening with the Ashkenazi Jews. Anthropology researcher Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, a distinguished professor of anthropology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and a member of the National Academy of Sciences might finally have the answers.
Their findings have shocked the world but it seems to be indisputable. Ashkenazi Jews suffer from more devastating genetic genes because the very genes that often cause these diseases also make Jews smarter so these genes have not been eliminated by natural selection.
It would appear that Jews have higher IQ’s many studies have revealed. In the United States alone Jews make up less then 3 percent of the population but they have won 25 percent of the Nobel prizes since 1950. They also account for over 20 percent of the United States executives and they are over 22 percent of all Ivy League students.
The majority of genetic diseases that afflict Ashkenazi Jews are conditions that involve the processing of sphingolipids, the fat molecules that transmit nerve signals. There are 20,000 human genes and out of those genes only108 are known to be involved in sphingolipid metabolism. This means that the odds of Ashkenazi Jews having four sphingolipid storage disorders by random chance are less than 1 in 100,000. It is believed that the only explanation for this coincidence is heterozygote advantage which means that having two copies of a mutated gene can mean disaster and death but one copy is helpful. This is why it takes two Ashkenazi Jews who are carriers to marry and produce a child with one of the debilitating genetic disorders such as Tay-Sachs, Niemann-Pick and other diseases that are unique to the race. A simple carrier will only carrier the disease and not be afflicted by it but two carriers can produce a child that is a carrier or a child that is afflicted.
This controversial statement is gaining worldwide recognition by many researchers. The controversial theory was first presented in Cochran and Harpendings book,” The 10,000 Year Explosion”, that was released in February of this year.
It does not matter if the Ashkenazi Jews have a higher IQ when you are a young couple faced with the choice of having a child or never having a child because you are both carriers of a deadly horrible genetic disease.
Being smarter when faced with these monumental causes of heartache are a small consolation. Many Jewish families have been faced with the death of a child through the years because of these devastating diseases. My own grandmother told me that her mother, my great grandmother, was faced with the death of a child due to Tay Sachs. Imagine the heartbreak and pain that this caused as you watched your little one slowly die. My own grandmother remembered this and she would always tear up when she spoke of the death of her sibling.
Ashkenazi Jews are faced with twelve genetic disorders.
1) Tay Sachs. Babies born with this disease will develop normally until around six months of age but soon the nervous system will start to degenerate. The baby will loose all motor skills, be rendered deaf, blind, and unresponsive. Death will occur by the age of four.
2) Canavan Disease. This disease is similar to Tay Sachs but the onset usually starts at four month of age and death does not occur until five years old.
3) Niemann-Pick Disease. This horrible disease causes a fatty substance to accumulate in different parts of the body. Failure to thrive and a progressive neurodegenerative course lead to death by three years of age in all children.
Other diseases faced by Ashkenazi Jews are Gaucher Disease, Familial Dysautonomia, Bloom Syndrome, Fanconi Anemia, Mucolipidosis IV, and Cystic Fibrosis.
Any couple of Ashkenazi descent is urged to seek Genetic testing before they have children. I was tested for Tay Sachs and Canavan Disease to see if I was a carrier. If you find out you are a carrier then you are faced with the reality of trying to have a healthy child. There are early prenatal tests such as a Chorionic Villus Sampling known as CVS where a small sample of the placenta is taken at eleven weeks to determine if the fetus is afflicted. If the child is found to have Tay Sachs, Canavan Disease, or Niemann-Pick Disease then the couple is faced with termination of the pregnancy which can be devastating.