Researchers Sequence Mongolian Genome Using DNA Of Genghis Khan Descendant
By Juliana Chan | Top News
December 18, 2011
Two Mongolian universities and genomics giant BGI jointly announced today the first complete sequencing of the Mongolian genome, using the DNA of a 34th generation descendant of Genghis Khan.
AsianScientist (Dec. 18, 2011) – Inner Mongolia Agricultural University (IMAU), Inner Mongolia University for the Nationalities (IMUN), and genomics organization BGI jointly announced today the first complete sequencing of the Mongolian genome.
Modern day Mongols are a central Asian ethnic group mostly found in Mongolia, Inner Mongolia in China, and Buryatia in Russia with about ten million ethnic Mongol people.
Tracing back to the 13th and 14th century, the “Mongol Empire” was commonly referred to as the largest contiguous empire in world history, with territories stretching from the Yellow Sea in Eastern Asia to the borders of eastern Europe under the leadership of Genghis Khan and his descendants. The vast empire promoted exchange of new technology, commodities, and culture, as well as trade and migration between different ethnic groups across Europe and Asia.
However, the migration patterns of Mongols in the Eurasia Region including China, the Middle East, and Russia during the period of Mongol Empire has always been hotly debated by scientists.
In this study, the DNA sample was contributed by a male adult who belongs to the Mongolian “Royal Family” and is a 34th generation descendant of Genghis Khan.
“The sample is very valuable for the study with a full record of family pedigree and no background of intermarriage between other ethnic groups,” said Professor Huanmin Zhou, Project Investigator and Director of Science and Technology at IMAU.
This landmark study is likely to help researchers better understand the migration of Mongolians and their ancestors from Africa to Asia, and their potential impact on human evolution at the genetic level.
Insights gleaned from the data may also explain the distinctive features of Mongolians and their genetic differences with other ethnic groups, especially in familial disease.
“We are currently planning to sequence and analyze more Mongolian samples, aiming to build a genetic database of Mongolians to support research of Mongolians in medicine, migration, evolution, among others,” Prof. Zhou added.
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