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At Least Ten Other Men Might Rival Genghis Khan’s Genetic Legacy

genghis khan

Image credit: AlenVL/Shutterstock.com

It is said that there are around 16 million, or 0.5 percent of male population in the world might be descendants of Genghis Khan, who had ruled Mongolia over 700 years ago as the famously fecund warrior, because these men have nearly identical Y-chromosome sequences. However, based on the latest research published in the European Journal of Human Genetics, there are at least 10 other men who could rival Khan’s genetic legacy.

Previous study had identified two other similarly virile founding fathers. One of then is Giocangga, whose grandson was the founder of the Qing dynasty in China in the 1600s, the other is a member of the Irish early medieval ‘Uí Néill’ dynasty.

According to Mark Jobling of University of Leicester, incidentally, lots of men had lots of sons. However, it was unusual that the sons had a high probability of having lots of sons themselves, so there was to have a reinforcing effect. For instance, there existed the systems where “prestigious” men were the fathers of so many children with lots of women.

In order to identify the additional successful Y-lineage expansions, a group of scientists with Jobling and Patricia Balaresque from CNRS/Université Paul Sabatier as its leader were engaged in the analysis of 5,321 DNA samples from 127 Asian populations between the Middle East and Korea, among them, 461 samples were collected from central Asia and the other 4,860 were published sets before. When studying the accumulated DNA differences in shared sequences, this group was capable of finding out the time when the founder of a lineage had lived. Except for a few assumptions showing where their descendants might have immigrated moved over time, the scientists had succeeded in tracing the geographic origins of these lineages.

From their findings, the Y-chromosome lineages of Genghis Khan and Giocangga as well as nine others stood out, even if the identities of such nine others remain unknown at the moment. Therefore, the descent clusters derived from these 11 founding chromosomes represent 38 percent of the Y-chromosomes that have been analyzed. Such newly discovered and highly represented lineages all had their origins all over the Asian continent, ranging from the Middle East to Southeast Asia in regard to both agricultural and nomadic cultures, and their expansions started between 2100 BC and 1100 AD.

Source: Nature