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Thread: C2* cluster doesn't track back specifically to Genghis Khan

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    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    C2* cluster doesn't track back specifically to Genghis Khan

    See: Lan-Hai Wei et al
    "Whole-sequence analysis indicates that the Y chromosome C2*-Star Cluster traces back to ordinary Mongols, rather than Genghis Khan"
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41431-017-0012-3


    "The Y-chromosome haplogroup C3*-Star Cluster (revised to C2*-ST in this study) was proposed to be the Y-profile of Genghis Khan. Here, we re-examined the origin of C2*-ST and its associations with Genghis Khan and Mongol populations. We analyzed 34 Y-chromosome sequences of haplogroup C2*-ST and its most closely related lineage. We redefined this paternal lineage as C2b1a3a1-F3796 and generated a highly revised phylogenetic tree of the haplogroup, including 36 sub-lineages and 265 non-private Y-chromosome variants. We performed a comprehensive analysis and age estimation of this lineage in eastern Eurasia, including 18,210 individuals from 292 populations. We discovered that the origin of populations with high frequencies of C2*-ST can be traced to either an ancient Niru’un Mongol clan or ordinary Mongol tribes. Importantly, the age of the most recent common ancestor of C2*-ST (2576 years, 95% CI = 1975–3178) and its sub-lineages, and their expansion patterns, are consistent with the diffusion of all Mongolic-speaking populations, rather than Genghis Khan himself or his close male relatives. We concluded that haplogroup C2*-ST is one of the founder paternal lineages of all Mongolic-speaking populations, and direct evidence of an association between C2*-ST and Genghis Khan has yet to be discovered."


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    Razib Khan's take on it:
    https://www.gnxp.com/WordPress/2018/...medium=twitter

    "
    The primary aspect here seems to be pushing the age back. The Mongols, or what became the Mongols, were a marginal group of tribes when this variant arose. There is some citation of the fact that some putative descendants of Genghis Khan don’t even carry the “Star Cluster”, but there are other papers which report even different haplotypes! So I’m not sure that that is dispositive in any sense.Perhaps the true question now is why this cluster expanded so much over the past 2,500 years or so? There are plenty of candidates historically, but being Bayesians we should be cautious about overturning prior hypotheses on new data. Coalescence dating in particular is often an art as opposed to a science (I don’t mean this literally, but anyone who has used the programs mentioned in the paper knows what I mean).
    An alternative model is that as a null we should expect star clusters now and then. But most people don’t seem to think that rapid expansion of Y chromosomes during the Holocene is simply a matter of chance as opposed to necessity."

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    I don't know the details of either the previous study or this one, but the previous results always came off as suspicious to me. I know these leaders took hundreds of wives, but all of their descendants would have to be equally as successful in order to reach such a huge percentage of the world population. Now, I'd totally "buy" it if the assumption was that the entire clan or tribe of Genghis Khan had an unusually high percentage of this particular subclade of C2, but all of that coming from only one person? I find it very unlikely unless Asia had gone through some serious bottleneck, which despite the awful massacres by the Mongols in Central Asia (they basically buried the Iranic civilization there for good) wasn't the case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    I don't know the details of either the previous study or this one, but the previous results always came off as suspicious to me. I know these leaders took hundreds of wives, but all of their descendants would have to be equally as successful in order to reach such a huge percentage of the world population. Now, I'd totally "buy" it if the assumption was that the entire clan or tribe of Genghis Khan had an unusually high percentage of this particular subclade of C2, but all of that coming from only one person? I find it very unlikely unless Asia had gone through some serious bottleneck, which despite the awful massacres by the Mongols in Central Asia (they basically buried the Iranic civilization there for good) wasn't the case.
    I agree with you that it makes more sense that it's the tribe as a whole.

    However, Khan is right about the dating issue, imo. This may be another case where the conclusion is correct but the data doesn't really prove it.

    I have the same problem with dating for admixture. I think it's far from accurate, and I also think it's sometimes difficult to determine the direction of gene flow. That's for another thread, though. :) Wells also doesn't have a great track record, imo.

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