The study appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Colin Groves is a biological anthropologist at Australia National University in Canberra who was not associated with the study.
"I think this is a very neat finding," said Groves, adding that the study provides enough evidence for a clear genetic link between ancient Phoenician traders and persons now living in some of these historic trading towns.
However, he notes that the researchers looked only at Y chromosomes, indicating a line of descent from a male ancestor.
"This means that you will find such genetic traces only if there has been an unbroken male line in that area," Groves explained. "If a man has only daughters, his Y chromosome lineage dies out."
Groves also cautions that one should not interpret the findings as suggesting the Phoenicians were restricted to a certain place.
"It means only that Phoenicians were there, and presumably in sufficient numbers that chance events have not eliminated the Y chromosome traces."
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