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Followed by Haplogroup J, especially Haplogroup J-M267 which is primarily concentrated in the Chad Basin, though it is also found in the Maghreb at lower frequencies.
These Y-DNA haplogroups are observed in both Berber and Arabic speakers.
The region produced figures such as Christian Church writer Tertullian (c. 202); and Christian Church martyrs or leading figures such as St Cyprian of Carthage ( 258); Saint Monica; her son the philosopher Augustine of Hippo ( 430) (1); and Julia of Corsica (5th century).
The region was a birthplace of many Christians movements like arianism and donatism, now casted-off.
The genetic proximity observed between the North-Africans and Southern Europeans is due to the fact that both these groups shared a common ancestor either in the Upper Paleolithic, in the Neolithic or alternatively during history with the invasion and the occupation during nearly seven centuries of the Iberian Peninsula by Moorish troops.
A genetic study published in January 2012 stated that the indigenous North African ancestry appears most closely related to populations outside of Africa but "divergence between Maghrebi peoples and Near Eastern/Europeans likely precedes the Holocene ( The Y-chromosome genetic structure of the Maghreb population seems to be mainly modulated by geography.
However, in September 2010, a thorough study about Berber mt DNA by Frigi et al.
Regarding J1-M267, according to a recent study in 2011 about Tunisia, it is significantly more abundant in the urban (31.3%) than in the rural total population (2.5%).
In an autosomal study in 2012 by Henn et al., the authors conclude that North African populations retain a unique signature of early "Maghrebi" ancestry, but are not a homogeneous group and most display varying combinations of five distinct ancestries (Maghrebi, European, Near Eastern, eastern and western sub-Saharan Africa).
The majority of their ancestry derives from populations outside of Africa and is the result of at least three distinct episodes: They observed two distinct, opposite gradients of ancestry : an east-to-west increase in likely autochthonous North African ancestry likely derived from "back-to-Africa" gene flow more than 12,000 years ago and an east-to-west decrease in likely Near Eastern Arabic ancestry.
There is a small but thriving Jewish community, as well as a small Christian community.
Most Muslims follow the Maliki school of Sunni Islam. A strong tradition of venerating marabouts and saints' tombs is found throughout regions inhabited by Berbers.