Kazakhs competing to prove Genghis Khan descent

Written by: Nairita Das
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London, Oct 4 (ANI): As Kazakhstan wakes up to a new prestige post the country's former aristocracy, thousands of Kazakhs are competing to prove their descent from feared warlord Genghis Khan.

In the last three years, more than 300 Kazakhs have sent gene samples to be tested at a US lab and thousands lobbying for a place in last year's book Chingizids, which detailed Genghis's Kazakh heirs.

"He said 'If you want to be respected, and you want to know that you are really chingizid [a Genghis-Khan descendant], then you have to have real proof,'" the Telegraph quoted Arman Amerkulov, a 39-year-old horse trader from Almaty, as saying.

Ahmuhanov recently sent a sample to FamilytreeDNA, a company in Houston, after being encouraged to do so by Chingizids' author Gizat Tabuldin.

Genghis Khan's conquest of a vast swathe of Eurasia has made his name synonymous with destruction and brutality in Europe and the Middle East, but in Kazakhstan and Mongolia he is a hero.

But since the country's independence in 1991, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has actively promoted Kazakh history and heritage, and Tabuldin's book, the result of 10 years' research, has been heavily promoted in the government media.

But many who submitted their DNA signatures are disappointed with the results.

"His DNA signature on the paternal line does not correspond to the one that scientific studies have for what is supposed to be the Genghis Khan signature," said Max Blankfeld, head of operations at FamilytreeDNA in Houston, talking about Ahmuhanov.

Tabuldin similarly had to exclude hundreds of aspirants from the 5,000 living Tore included in his book. His test is based on a 2003 joint study, which identified a genetic signature common to nearly 350 million people across the former Mongol empire from the Pacific Sea to the Caspian.

However, Yerlan Turesbekov, a geneticist who runs the 'Kazakhstan DNA' project in Almaty, said that there was not yet a conclusive test for Genghis Khan's DNA.

"As per lineage to Genghis Khan, his DNA passport is not validated yet, and we still don't have a clear picture.

Participants who assume the ties with Genghis Khan have different DNA genotypes and it is hard to tell who is a real descendant," he said. (ANI)

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