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Monday, October 31, 2005

Conquerors Get All the Girls

From The New York (N.Y.) Times:

Scientists Link a Prolific Gene Tree to the Manchu Conquerors of China

By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: November 1, 2005

Geneticists have identified a major lineage of Y chromosomes in populations of northern China that they believe may mark the bearers as descendants of one of the Manchu conquerors who founded the Qing dynasty and ruled China from 1644 to 1911.

Because the founder of the lineage lived some 500 years ago, according to calculations based on the rate of genetic change, he may have been Giocangga, who died in 1582, the grandfather of the Manchu leader Nurhaci. At least 1.6 million men now carry this Manchu Y chromosome, says Chris Tyler-Smith, the leader of a team of English and Chinese geneticists.

[snip]

The Mongol Y chromosome presumably spread so widely because of the large number of concubines amassed by Genghis [Khan] and his relatives. The Manchu rulers, though not in Genghis's league, also were able to spread their lineage so far, Dr. Tyler-Smith and his colleagues suggest, because of being able to keep many concubines.

[snip]

[Read the whole story]

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