The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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Random Mongolian Genetic Trivia Item of the Day
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Recently, a geneticist at Oxford University, Dr. Chris Tyler-Smith, and geneticists from China and central Asia took blood samples from populations living in regions near the former Mongol empire, and they studied the Y chromosomes. These are useful in establishing lineage because Y chormosomes continue from father to son. Dr. Tyler Smith and his colleagues found that an anomalously large number of the Y chromosomes carried a genetic signature indicating descent from a common ancestor about a thousand years ago. The scientists theorized that the ancestor was Genghis Khan (or, more exactly, an eleventh-century ancestor of Genghis Khan). About eight per cent of all males in the region studied, or sixteen million men, possess this chromosome signature. That’s a half per cent of the world’s population. It is possible, therefore, that more than thirty-two million people in the world are descended from Genghis Khan.

— from Ian Frazier’s story “Invaders,” in the April 25th New Yorker.

More on Genghis Khan, playa, from the Guardian.

April 28, 2005 / Uncategorized

3 comments

Old news, dude. If you can figure out how to cop a look at it, I highly recommend the article from the Dec. issue of Discover Magazine:

http://www.discover.com/issues/dec-04/cover/

Good stuff. I love how the scientists are like. . .(paraphrase from memeory). . “Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for the interracial loving. But we gotta finish our work before it gets totally out of hand!”

Yes, after I read the Ian Frazier article, I went hunting around for more on Chris Tyler-Smith, and came to the Grauniad article, dated March 2003. I seem to have missed this one the first go-round, and it’s since spawned 32 million offspring.

The Discover article’s here.

How did they know that 16 million ancestors were having the same chromosomes those of Genghis Khan’s?

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