500 years on from the Inquisition, DNA is able to show the Moors never went home

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The medieval reconquest of Spain from the Moors left a genetic legacy that can be detected today in the DNA of men from the Iberian Peninsula, scientists have discovered.

A high proportion of Spanish and Portuguese males have a genetic profile indicative of North African or Jewish ancestry, according to research that sheds light on the region’s history. As many as one in five has a Y chromosome of apparently Jewish origin, while one in ten has a Y chromosome showing a North African heritage.

“These proportions attest to a high level of religious conversion, whether voluntary or enforced, driven by historical episodes of social and religious intolerance, that ultimately led to the integration of descendants,” said Professor Mark Jobling, of the University of Leicester, who led the research.

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