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Genetics/Genghis Khan


Thanemozhi Natarajan,
Spencer Wells says that one in twelve males from Mongolia are direct descendants of Genghis Khan via the y chromosome. Since this tracks only direct male to male lineages, would it be safe to assume that many more than that carry his DNA? If I assume that each generation (some 40 since then) delivered roughly 2^x (x = the number of a given subsequent generation) times the descendants than what would be attributed to just the direct male lineages, then it seems that more than the entire population of Mongolia must carry some of his DNA, and therefore would be considered a "direct descendant."
Is this accurate?

Hi Paul,

Theoretically, if carrying over even a fraction of a persons DNA bestows "direct descendant" title, then yes. However, all somatic chromosomes (1-22) undergo extensive recombination between paternal and maternal sets. Thus which each generation passed, the original ancestor's DNA configuration gets more and more diluted to the point that the DNA sequence similarity shared comes to an extremeley low percentage. However, the Y chromosome undergoes very little recombination with it's counterpart, X, in a region called the pseudo autosomal region. Thus most of the entire Y gets passed on from one generation to the other in a least diluted manner. That is Y, carriers of Y chromosomes with high similarity are most likely belonging to one lineage.



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Thanemozhi Natarajan


Answers in Genetics, genomics, cytogenetics of syndromes, congenital anomalies, cancer, clinical genomics and interpretation of omics data.


More than 10 years. Doctoral research thesis on Congenital anomalies and cytogenetics, Recurrent reproductive failure and chromosomal abnormalities. Postdoctoral experience in Breast cancer research. Current: Clinical Genomics and Pharmacogenomics.


Cancer Cell International, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, Breast cancer research and treatment, Indian Journal of Pediatrics, BMC Proceedings, Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, Human Molecular Genetics, Frontiers in Genetics, Cancer Biomarkers.

PhD Biomedical Genetics

Awards and Honors
University Grants Commission Award for pursuing PhD level research (India); Travel awards to attend conferences.

Past/Present Clients
Post doctoral experience Cancer research, molecular epidemiology Current: Clininical Genomics and Pharmacogenomics

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