May 21, 2007
— Approximately 16 million Asian men can consider themselves to be Genghis Khan’s descendants, but there are no such men among the Russian population. These conclusions were made by Russian geneticists and their Polish colleagues, who had investigated Y-chromosomes with representatives of 18 nations of Northern Eurasia.
Discussions on Genghis Khan’s offsprings began about three years ago when foreign researchers (Zerijal and joint authors) published findings on Y-chromosome variability with 2,123 inhabitants of different regions in Asia, except for its Russian part. The researchers discovered a whole cluster of closely-related lines, which fanned from a common ancestor. The investigations proved that this cluster originated from Mongolia about a thousand years ago, and its distribution coincided surprisingly with the boundaries occupied by the Mongol Empire at that time.
Based on this coincidence, the researchers have assumed that the Y-chromosomes described by them belonged to Genghis Khan and his offsprings. Representatives of the Genghiside dynasty, due to their social status, had a lot of opportunities to leave posterity, and, to all appearances, broadly enjoyed their advantages. Russian and Polish researchers continued the search for the Genghisides in practically non-investigated territories of Northern Eurasia.
The Mongolian State was established in 1206 as a result of Mongolian tribes consolidation by Genghis Khan, it broadened significantly in the future having absorbed the territory of China (Great Khan ulus), Central Asia (Chagatai ulus), Iran (Ilkhan State) and Russia (Golden Horde). The power of khans of the Golden Horde, founded by Batu Khan, Genghis Khan’s grandson, embraced the territory of a significant part of contemporary Russia (except for Eastern Siberia, Far East and regions of ultima Thule), Northern and Western Kazakhstan, Ukraine, part of Uzbekistan (Khoresm) and Turkmenia.
The geneticists investigated Y-chromosomes of 1,437 men-representatives of 18 ethnic groups in that territory: Altai Kazakhs, Altai-Khizhis, Teleuts, Khakasses, Shor, Tuvinians, Todjins, Tofalars, Soyotes, Buryats, Khamnigans, Evenks, Mongolians, Kalmyks, Tajiks, Kurds, Persians and Russians. The researchers discovered a cluster of male lines possessing a common ancestor, supposedly Genghis Khan, the frequency of the “ancestry” Y-chromosome variant being the highest. The largest share of the Genghisides fell on Mongolia (about 35 percent). In the Russian population, the highest number of the Khan chromosome carriers are among the Altai Kazakhs - 8.3 percent. From 3.4 to 1.7 percent of the Genghisides are also found among the Altai people, Buryats, Tuvinians and Kalmyks.
The researchers point out that despite such detailed investigation of ethnic groups in Southern Siberia, the “Genghiside” cluster was discovered only in the populations boundary to Mongolia, where from the Mongol Empire originated in 1206. Russian principalities were in the Golden Horde allegiance since 1248 through 1480. Nevertheless, men from the Genghis Khan clan left no genetic trace in Russia. The researchers hope that further investigation of the Y-chromosome variability will allow to significantly extend our knowledge about evolution and history of Russian ethnic groups formation and about the origin of individual clans making part of them.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by InformScience Agency.
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