Approximately 16 million Asian men consider themselves to be Genghis Khan’s descendants. It turns out that may actually be true.
Almost four years ago Zerijal and fellow researchers published a paper showing Y-chromosome variability of 2,123 inhabitants of different regions in Asia. They discovered a whole cluster of closely-related lines, all having a common ancestor.
They originated from Mongolia when Khan lived and its distribution coincided with the boundaries of his empire. Plus, let's face it, friends of Genghis Khan had plenty of opportunities to have sex. And they did. Often.
Khan consolidated the Mongolian tribes in 1206. Over time the Mongolian state grew to encompass China, Central Asia, Iran and a large part of Russia.
Recently investigators in Russia did a population study of a similar nature.
They investigated Y-chromosomes of 1,437 men-representatives of 18 ethnic groups: 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.
The odd result? The “Genghiside” cluster was discovered only in the populations of Mongolia, where the Mongol Empire originated in 1206. The Golden Horde, originated by the grandson of Genghis Khan, held eastern Russia for 250 years yet seems to have left no genetic traces.
So are you descended from Genghis Khan? It seems there's a better chance of it if you're a farmer in Tennessee than if you're in the part of Russia Genghis Khan and his chromosomes actually held.