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Monday 14 May 2007

Genghis Khan Y chromosome

A Y-chromosomal lineage with several unusual features has been identified. It was found in 16 populations throughout a large region of Asia, stretching from the Pacific to the Caspian Sea, and was present at high frequency: approximately 8% of the men in this region carry it, and it thus makes up approximately 0.5% of the world total.

The pattern of variation within the lineage suggested that it originated in Mongolia approximately 1,000 years ago. Such a rapid spread cannot have occurred by chance; it must have been a result of selection.

The lineage is carried by likely male-line descendants of Genghis Khan, and it has been proposed that it has spread by a novel form of social selection resulting from their behavior. (12592608)


- Zerjal T, Xue Y, Bertorelle G, Wells RS, Bao W, Zhu S, Qamar R, Ayub Q, Mohyuddin A, Fu S, Li P, Yuldasheva N, Ruzibakiev R, Xu J, Shu Q, Du R, Yang H, Hurles ME, Robinson E, Gerelsaikhan T, Dashnyam B, Mehdi SQ, Tyler-Smith C. The genetic legacy of the Mongols. Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Mar;72(3):717-21. PMID: 12592608