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This haplotype seems to have expanded relatively recently, as was evident from small number of mutational steps connecting all of the local variants.Figure 1 illustrates the phylogenetic network: The shaded area represents the star-phylogeny.In Russia among the Muslim Tatars and in Central Asia among the Uzbeks descent from Genghis Khan was a major calling card for any would-be warlord.This is peculiar in light of the fact that Genghis Khan, and his near descendants, were non-Muslims!Thus, chance can be excluded: selection must have acted on this haplotype.Could biological selection be responsible Although this possibility cannot be entirely ruled out, the small number of genes on the Y chromosome and their specialized functions provide few opportunities for selection…It is therefore necessary to look for alternative explanations.Like descent from the gods in the mythology of the Classical World, or the House of David in medieval Christian monarchies, a line back to Genghis Khan became a necessary precondition for fitness to be a ruler in the centuries after the rise of the Mongol Empire across much of Asia.
I suspect that many pre-modern people, who were accustomed to small family groups and kin networks in a way we are not, would find our own surprise rather perplexing. First, they discovered that there was a particular Y chromosomal haplotype, a set of unique genetic markers, which was found across much of Asia.As we do not exhibit the sexual dimorphism which is the norm in such organisms, it goes to show the plasticity of outcome due to the flexibility of human cultural forms.Jason Goldman of Thoughtful Animal reminded me of the 2003 paper a few days ago, so I thought it would be useful to review it again for new readers (as I know most of you have not been reading for 7 years! To understand how one Y chromosomal lineage can have such a wide distribution across such a large proportion of the human race, here is a quote attributed to Genghis Khan: The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms.Not only were they non-Muslims, but the Mongol assault on West Asian Muslims societies was particularly deleterious; it is generally assumed that Iran and Mesopotamia’s relatively productive irrigation system were wrecked during the Mongol conquests to the point where it took centuries for them to rebound to their previous levels of productivity.More symbolically, it was the Mongols who finally extinguished the Abbasid Caliphate.