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Thread: Genomic game of thrones: Ancient DNA analysis of European and Asian royal dynasties

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    Genomic game of thrones: Ancient DNA analysis of European and Asian royal dynasties

    Abstract

    In most societies, aristocracy has a marriage pattern different from that of the general population. Dynasties of rulers often had foreign origin and thus might be genetically distant. Moreover, they tend to marry their relatives (which genetically would result in elevated inbreeding) and partners from other countries (genetically counteractive). A genomic analysis of royal families is therefore interesting not only for the sake of accurate historical identification, but also for addressing population genetic questions on an “aristocratic subpopulation”.

    We analyzed genomic data representing three dynasties: the medieval North European Rurikid dynasty, the 19th century Russian Romanov dynasty, and Genghis Khan’s descendants.

    The chronicles indicate that Rurikid princes, which ruled Russia over seven centuries, descent from the Viking Rurik. The genetic-genealogical analysis of the present-day princes identified the core genetic lineage rooted in Scandinavia. We analyzed the ancient DNA of medieval princes including Vladimir (11th century) who is placed in traditional genealogy just five generations apart from the Rurik, and compared the ancient and modern members of the Rurikid dynasty.

    The second study was performed in parallel by the two ancient DNA labs which were approached by the Russian Church requesting kinship analyses of the anonymous bone samples. The analysis was made as a blind test, the investigation was paralleled, and the results matched. The mtDNA profiles coincided with the published data on the last Russian emperor and empress (Rogaev et al., 2009), but the new results included also the preceding generations of the dynasty. The genomic results corroborate previous PCR-based findings and will settle the remaining doubts around the authenticity of Royal family remains. Genetically, these individuals are consistent with being Central Europeans, in agreement with the genealogical records, as they were close relatives of the Danish king, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and other Central European dynasties.

    Finally, we analyzed Y-chromosomes of several clans claiming their origin from Genghis Khan. Surprisingly, the genetic variation in this sample was even higher than in general population. While the Nyru’un tribe (Genghis Khan belonged to) in general carried high frequency of the “star-cluster” (C-F3796), most studied aristocratic clans from Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China carried two other lineages (C-F1756 and C-M407).

    https://eventpilotadmin.com/web/page.php?page=IntHtml&project=ASHG19&id=1922226

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    Thanks for sharing

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Abstract

    In most societies, aristocracy has a marriage pattern different from that of the general population. Dynasties of rulers often had foreign origin and thus might be genetically distant. Moreover, they tend to marry their relatives (which genetically would result in elevated inbreeding) and partners from other countries (genetically counteractive). A genomic analysis of royal families is therefore interesting not only for the sake of accurate historical identification, but also for addressing population genetic questions on an “aristocratic subpopulation”.

    We analyzed genomic data representing three dynasties: the medieval North European Rurikid dynasty, the 19th century Russian Romanov dynasty, and Genghis Khan’s descendants.

    The chronicles indicate that Rurikid princes, which ruled Russia over seven centuries, descent from the Viking Rurik. The genetic-genealogical analysis of the present-day princes identified the core genetic lineage rooted in Scandinavia. We analyzed the ancient DNA of medieval princes including Vladimir (11th century) who is placed in traditional genealogy just five generations apart from the Rurik, and compared the ancient and modern members of the Rurikid dynasty.

    The second study was performed in parallel by the two ancient DNA labs which were approached by the Russian Church requesting kinship analyses of the anonymous bone samples. The analysis was made as a blind test, the investigation was paralleled, and the results matched. The mtDNA profiles coincided with the published data on the last Russian emperor and empress (Rogaev et al., 2009), but the new results included also the preceding generations of the dynasty. The genomic results corroborate previous PCR-based findings and will settle the remaining doubts around the authenticity of Royal family remains. Genetically, these individuals are consistent with being Central Europeans, in agreement with the genealogical records, as they were close relatives of the Danish king, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and other Central European dynasties.

    Finally, we analyzed Y-chromosomes of several clans claiming their origin from Genghis Khan. Surprisingly, the genetic variation in this sample was even higher than in general population. While the Nyru’un tribe (Genghis Khan belonged to) in general carried high frequency of the “star-cluster” (C-F3796), most studied aristocratic clans from Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China carried two other lineages (C-F1756 and C-M407).

    https://eventpilotadmin.com/web/page.php?page=IntHtml&project=ASHG19&id=1922226
    So, as genealogy told us, the Romanovs were Germanic by this time, not Slavic, although the change was through marriages. I'll have to skim the paper and see if the descendants of the Rurikids are still Scandinavian. That would be quite some history of inbreeding.

    Interesting that there's all that yDna variation in the clans supposedly descended from Genghis Khan and, one would think, the related lineages of the aristocratic families.

    This was indeed the way it worked with royal families throughout Europe, including Italy, which is one reason I personally never understood the acceptance of these families by the general populace. Heck, in the Balkans, when some of these countries wanted a King, they went to German princelings. Madness, imo.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    So, as genealogy told us, the Romanovs were Germanic by this time, not Slavic, although the change was through marriages. I'll have to skim the paper and see if the descendants of the Rurikids are still Scandinavian. That would be quite some history of inbreeding.

    Interesting that there's all that yDna variation in the clans supposedly descended from Genghis Khan and, one would think, the related lineages of the aristocratic families.

    This was indeed the way it worked with royal families throughout Europe, including Italy, which is one reason I personally never understood the acceptance of these families by the general populace. Heck, in the Balkans, when some of these countries wanted a King, they went to German princelings. Madness, imo.
    That's really bizarre. I can only imagine people thought the danger of descending into a civil war between several factions supporting different families and candidates to the throne would be even worse. Do you know some of the justifications used at the time or later by historians to explain that pattern?

    In the case of the clans alleging descendancy from Genghis Khan, I also think it's possible many clans did so to enhance their prestige on the ruins of the failing Mongol Empire when it started to shatter into many smaller polities with rival powerful groups. They all probably tried to establish some veneer of legitimacy to their claims, not just sheer force.

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