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Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Mar;72(3):717-21. Epub 2003 Jan 17.

The genetic legacy of the Mongols.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.


We have identified a Y-chromosomal lineage with several unusual features. It was found in 16 populations throughout a large region of Asia, stretching from the Pacific to the Caspian Sea, and was present at high frequency: approximately 8% of the men in this region carry it, and it thus makes up approximately 0.5% of the world total. The pattern of variation within the lineage suggested that it originated in Mongolia approximately 1,000 years ago. Such a rapid spread cannot have occurred by chance; it must have been a result of selection. The lineage is carried by likely male-line descendants of Genghis Khan, and we therefore propose that it has spread by a novel form of social selection resulting from their behavior.

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