What does it feel like to be the 34th-generation offspring of Genghis Khan, legendary conqueror and founder of the largest contiguous empire in history? Only the unnamed descendant himself can say for sure, but that may change someday thanks to a groundbreaking discovery just announced by a research team at the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University.
Located in Hohhot, capital city of China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the biological research lab at IMAU (???????) has been engaged in building a database referencing the Mongolian genetic code.
According to Zhou Huanmin (left), the project's leader and head of the biological research lab, the database will reference the genomes of 200 ethnic Mongolians including that of the Great Khan's great-great-etc grandson, said to be a male member of the Sunit Tribe based in the Xilingol prefecture of Inner Mongolia.
The genome of Genghis Khan's descendant was not only the first to be sequenced by the researchers, but it was the first genome of a Mongolian to be sequenced period. According to Zhou, the paramount purpose of the genetic database will be to explore and detect ethnicity-specific genome inheritances among Mongolians.
It's estimated that there are approximately 10 million ethnic Mongolians in the world today, with most living in western and northern China, Russia, and the nation of Mongolia.
It is hoped they will be able to derive benefits from medical research that will reference the database in order to monitor the patterns of genetically transmitted diseases and perhaps, lead to earlier discovery, improved treatments and higher cure rates.
All well and good, but how about a little of that Genghis Khan DNA for the rest of us? Leave it to commercial exploitation to succeed where mere mortality left off, giving anyone the chance to imbibe the essence of Genghis in convenient pill, tablet or gel-caps. Me, I'll take my shot of Khan (Genghis, not Chaka) neat, shaken not stirred, with a tiger blood chaser. (via Xinhuanet, CSMonitor, SIVB, and Amazon.com)