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Genome of Mongols sequenced in China

BEIJING, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Chinese scientists say they have completed the first sequencing of the Mongolian genome, allowing for a better understanding of Mongols' evolutionary history.

Mongol is a central Asian ethnic group mostly inhabiting Mongolia, the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in China, and the Buryatia republic in Russia, totaling about 10 million ethnic Mongol people.

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The "Mongol Empire" was commonly referred to in the 13th and 14th centuries as the "largest contiguous empire" in the world history. It has stretched its territory from the Yellow Sea in eastern Asia to the borders of eastern Europe under the leadership of Genghis Khan and his descendants, a release from the genomics organization BGI Shenzen said Monday.

The movement and migration of Mongols in Eurasia, including China, the Middle East and Russia during the period of the Mongol Empire has always been debated by scientists, and the genome sequencing will provide new insights to their potential impact on the human evolution at the genetic level, researchers said.

The genome was sequenced from a DNA sample from a male adult who belongs to the Mongolian "Royal Family" and is the 34th generation descendant of Genghis Khan, they said.

"With the completion of the first Mongolian genome, we believe that the genomics study of Mongolian will help us to explore the distinctive features of Mongolian and the genetic differences with other ethnic groups, including the medical genetics and incidence of genetic diseases," Ye Yin, Director of Research at BGI, said.

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