Could You Be Related To Genghis Khan?

Postmann Michael, via Wikimedia Commons. Khan empire at the time of death.

Did you know that as many as 0.5% of the total world population might be descendants of Genghis Khan? A study carried out a while back found that this legendary 13th century warrior that ruled the largest contiguous empire in history might have left his mark in more ways than one thanks to his rampant ways.

According to the data, around 8% of men (around 16 million individuals) residing in the former Mongol empire carry almost identical Y-chromosomes. Furthermore, the scientists found that the lineage originated in Mongolia around 1,000 years ago.

The originator of this lineage must have had an astonishing number of descendants. Of course, given that Genghis Khan’s body has never been recovered and thus his DNA hasn’t been sequenced, it’s impossible to definitively link this chromosomal lineage to him. However, given Khan’s notorious behavior during his reign, he does seem a likely candidate.

History tells us that after Khan’s army defeated a new area, they would not only pillage the area but they would rape the women. Khan, of course, would get first pick of the women, so who knows how many he impregnated. The success of his descendants is also well documented. One of Khan’s sons is thought to have had a whopping 40 sons of his own and one of his grandsons had 22 legitimate sons and would add 30 virgins to his harem each year, so goodness knows how many children he had. That’s plenty of opportunity for Khan's Y-chromosome to rampantly spread through the population, leaving a genetic legacy that may well still be present in an incredible number of individuals today. 

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