Study suggests millions of modern men are descendants of 11 dynastic leaders

A team of geneticists led by Professor Mark Jobling from the Department of Genetics has discovered that millions of modern Asian men are descended from 11 powerful dynastic leaders, including Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan, who lived up to 4,000 years ago.

The study entitled 'Y-chromosome descent clusters and male differential reproductive success: young lineage expansions dominate Asian pastoral nomadic populations', which is funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in the journal European Journal of Human Genetics, examined the male-specific Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son, in more than 5,000 Asian men belonging to 127 populations and discovered 11 types of Y chromosome that were relatively common across the sample before studying their distributions and histories.

Professor Jobling said: “The youngest lineages, originating in the last 1700 years, are found in pastoral nomadic populations, who were highly mobile horse-riders and could spread their Y chromosomes far and wide. For these lineages to become so common, their powerful founders needed to have many sons by many women, and to pass their status - as well as their Y chromosomes - on to them. The sons, in turn, could then have many sons, too. It’s a kind of trans-generation amplification effect.”