Genghis Khan: Founding Father Of A Widespread Lineage

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Published online: 24 October 2005;
| doi:10.1038/news051024-1

Y chromosomes reveal founding father

Did conquest and concubines spread one man's genes across Asia?
Charlotte Schubert

About 1.5 million men in northern China and Mongolia may be descended from a single man, according to a study based on Y chromosome genetics1.

Historical records suggest that this man may be Giocangga, who lived in the mid-1500s and whose grandson founded the Qing dynasty, which ruled China from 1644 to 1912.

The analysis is similar to a controversial study in 2003, which suggested that approximately 16 million men alive today are descended from the Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan2.

The male descendants of Giocangga, like Khan's sons and grandsons, ruled over vast swathes of land, living a lavish existence with many wives and concubines. The study published in this month's American Journal of Human Genetics suggests it was a good strategy for reproductive success.

All geneticists know we are living fossils.

Steve Jones
University College, London



"This kind of male reproductive advantage is perhaps a more important feature of human genetics than we thought," says Chris Tyler-Smith, at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, who led both studies.

Fossilized Y

Documenting the immense fecundity of these conquerors involves overlaying historical records and genetic analyses. Most informative is the small Y chromosome, holed up in the cells of every man, and relatively resistant to change.

Other chromosomes furiously exchange genetic information with each other. But during mating, the Y pairs up with the X, a giant chromosome by comparison and a poor fit for gene swapping. This means that the Y chromosome passes along steadily from father to son through the generations, providing a relatively fixed marker for clues about ancestry.

In the recent analysis, Tyler-Smith and his colleagues in Britain and China examined the Y chromosome of about 1,000 men in eastern Asia. The researchers compared the DNA sequences at numerous locations along the Y chromosome, finding close similarities among 3.3% of the men. That genetic similarity suggests that these men shared a common male ancestor who lived about 600 years ago, give or take a few centuries.

To identify who spawned this prolific Y chromosome, Tyler-Smith and his colleagues turned to their history books. They found Giocangga, whose grandson led the Manchu conquest of China in 1644 and established the Qing dynasty.

A large class of noblemen, descended by law from Giocangga, then ruled the state until 1912. Even a low-rank noble had many concubines, and was presumably expert at spreading Giocangga's chromosome around.

Further supporting Tyler-Smith's theory, the Manchu in the army mixed with only certain ethnic groups, and today these groups have the highest frequency of Giocangga's Y chromosome.

Only Genghis Khan's Y chromosome approaches the prevalence of Giocangga's, popping up in about 2.5% of the men, says Tyler-Smith.

Whose Y?

Getting a precise date for the origin of the chromosome is difficult, say geneticists, and pinning it to a historical figure is even less exact.

"But all geneticists know we are living fossils," says Steve Jones of University College London, who adds that the Giocangga hypothesis is "not unreasonable". Martin Richards, a human geneticist at the University of Leeds, UK, says that Tyler-Smith's analysis showing a common origin for the Y chromosome is among the most thorough he has seen.

However, others dispute the findings. The date for the origin of the Y chromosome is much too wobbly to pin on Giocangga, says Stanford's Luca Cavalli-Sforza. He also disputes the study on Genghis Khan and says both findings are overly sensational.

The investigators could help their case by examining the Y chromosome of known descendents of Giocangga. But that might be easier said than done.

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Although the noble class had 80,000 members by 1912, the Chinese cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s caused people to hide their noble descent for fear of persecution, and many records were destroyed. Several men today who are known to trace their ancestry back to Giocangga would not yield their DNA, the scientists say.

If this study and the work on Khan are right, they suggest that winning Y chromosomes thrive on hierarchy, patriarchy and conquest. "They tell us that those who regard history as the record of human frailty, weakness and disaster are right," says Jones.



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References
Xue Y., et al. Am. J. Hum. Genet., 77. published online Abstract (2005).
Zergal T., et al. Am. J. Hum. Genet., 72. 717 - 721 (2003).


Story from [email protected]:
http://news.nature.com//news/2005/051024/051024-1.html



© 2004 Nature Publishing Group
 
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Millions of men bear the genetic legacy of Genghis Khan, the famously fertile Mongolian ruler who died in 1227. Researchers have now recognized ten other men whose fecundity has left a lasting impression on present-day populations. The team's study1 points to sociopolitical factors that foster such lineages, but the identities of the men who left their genetic stamp remains unknown.


The case for Genghis Khan’s genetic legacy is strong, if circumstantial. A 2003 paper2 led by Chris Tyler-Smith, an evolutionary geneticist now at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, discovered that 8% of men in 16 populations spanning Asia (and 0.5% of men worldwide) shared nearly identical Y-chromosome sequences. The variation that did exist in their DNA suggested that the lineage began around 1,000 years ago in Mongolia.

Khan is reputed to have sired hundreds of children. But a Y-chromosome lineage traces a single paternal line in a much larger family tree, and for it to leave a lasting legacy takes multiple generations who fan out over a wide geographical area, says Mark Jobling, a geneticist at the University of Leicester, UK, who led the latest study with geneticist Patricia Balaresque of Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France. ...

http://www.nature.com/news/genghis-khan-s-genetic-legacy-has-competition-1.16767
 
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Doesn't do to dis Genghis Khan.

A Chinese man has been jailed for a year for stamping on a portrait of Mongol ruler Genghis Khan, after being found guilty of inciting ethnic hatred.

The court in China's Inner Mongolia region was told the man, identified by his surname Luo, had filmed himself trampling on the picture in May.

The 19-year-old then circulated the video clip online, causing public discontent, according to reports.

Genghis Khan remains a revered figure among ethnic Mongols.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42364214
 

AnonyJoolz

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#4
I couldn't find a thread discussing this interesting subject, so here we are!

I've been fascinated by the breadth and reach of the 13th century Genghis Khan's territory (the edge of Asia almost to the edge of Europe) and also by the genetic legacy he & his guys left behind. To quote from Nature, January 2015:

"The case for Genghis Khan’s genetic legacy is strong, if circumstantial. A 2003 paper led by Chris Tyler-Smith, an evolutionary geneticist now at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, discovered that 8% of men in 16 populations spanning Asia (and 0.5% of men worldwide) shared nearly identical Y-chromosome sequences. The variation that did exist in their DNA suggested that the lineage began around 1,000 years ago in Mongolia. "

https://www.nature.com/news/genghis-khan-s-genetic-legacy-has-competition-1.16767

This article also identifies two other 'competitor' males whose descendants have also scattered their distinctive Y-chromosome lineage far and wide; one from Asia and another from Europe:

"Genghis Khan is reputed to have sired hundreds of children. But a Y-chromosome lineage traces a single paternal line in a much larger family tree, and for it to leave a lasting legacy takes multiple generations who fan out over a wide geographical area, says Mark Jobling, a geneticist at the University of Leicester, UK, who led the latest study with geneticist Patricia Balaresque of Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France.

“Lots of men have lots of sons, by chance. But what normally doesn’t happen is the sons have a high probability of having lots of sons themselves. You have to have a reinforcing effect,” says Jobling. Establishment of such successful lineages often depends on social systems that allow powerful men to father children with multitudes of women.

In addition to Genghis Khan and his male descendants, researchers have previously identified the founders of two other highly successful Y-chromosome lineages: one that began in China with Giocangga, a ruler who died in 1582 whose lineage was spread by the Qing Dynasty, and another belonging to the medieval Uí Néill dynasty in Ireland
"

There are also several other dominant Y-descendant lines being analysed, so far estimated to originate from c.2000 BC to 700 AD-ish.

So, chaps, if you want to get into a genetic competition with Messrs. Genghis Khan, Giocangga and Uí Néill you have to be super-fertile and have lots of male babies with lots of women!

Another article here, from the Smithsonian: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smar...enetic-legacies-likes-genghis-khan-180954052/
 
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I couldn't find a thread discussing this interesting subject, so here we are!

I've been fascinated by the breadth and reach of the 13th century Genghis Khan's territory (the edge of Asia almost to the edge of Europe) and also by the genetic legacy he & his guys left behind. To quote from Nature, January 2015:

"The case for Genghis Khan’s genetic legacy is strong, if circumstantial. A 2003 paper led by Chris Tyler-Smith, an evolutionary geneticist now at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, discovered that 8% of men in 16 populations spanning Asia (and 0.5% of men worldwide) shared nearly identical Y-chromosome sequences. The variation that did exist in their DNA suggested that the lineage began around 1,000 years ago in Mongolia. "

https://www.nature.com/news/genghis-khan-s-genetic-legacy-has-competition-1.16767

This article also identifies two other 'competitor' males whose descendants have also scattered their distinctive Y-chromosome lineage far and wide; one from Asia and another from Europe:

"Genghis Khan is reputed to have sired hundreds of children. But a Y-chromosome lineage traces a single paternal line in a much larger family tree, and for it to leave a lasting legacy takes multiple generations who fan out over a wide geographical area, says Mark Jobling, a geneticist at the University of Leicester, UK, who led the latest study with geneticist Patricia Balaresque of Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France.

“Lots of men have lots of sons, by chance. But what normally doesn’t happen is the sons have a high probability of having lots of sons themselves. You have to have a reinforcing effect,” says Jobling. Establishment of such successful lineages often depends on social systems that allow powerful men to father children with multitudes of women.

In addition to Genghis Khan and his male descendants, researchers have previously identified the founders of two other highly successful Y-chromosome lineages: one that began in China with Giocangga, a ruler who died in 1582 whose lineage was spread by the Qing Dynasty, and another belonging to the medieval Uí Néill dynasty in Ireland
"

There are also several other dominant Y-descendant lines being analysed, so far estimated to originate from c.2000 BC to 700 AD-ish.

So, chaps, if you want to get into a genetic competition with Messrs. Genghis Khan, Giocangga and Uí Néill you have to be super-fertile and have lots of male babies with lots of women!

Another article here, from the Smithsonian: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smar...enetic-legacies-likes-genghis-khan-180954052/
It's discussed here: https://forums.forteana.org/index.p...ounding-father-of-a-widespread-lineage.23893/
 
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AnonyJoolz

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#10
I was thinking mongoloid redheads.
There are instances of groups of people in east Asia having naturally red or blonde hair - you might find this article interesting?

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/11/no-romans-needed-to-explain-chinese-blondes/

It seems the common genetic factor is high levels of Uyghur ancestry which tends to have west Asian and northern European genes in high proportions but very little southern European/Middle East.

A great pic, from the article:



I find genetics fascinating, since studying it at school, and then at University (though mainly to do with plants at that stage). It taught me there is only one human 'race' and the variations of our species are simply just that, variations on a human theme.
 
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