300 Million Chinese Men Descended From Just 3 Stone Age Grandfathers?
More than 40 per cent of the Chinese Han population can trace their family tree back to three ‘super-grandfathers’ who lived during the Neolithic era
Our understanding of human history is currently undergoing a revolution. The technology that makes this possible is fast and cheap DNA sequencing that reveals an individual’s genetic code in just a few hours. By comparing the sequences of different humans, it is possible to work out how they are related and to reconstruct the family tree going back many generations.
What’s more, the geographical distribution of genetic differences also reveals when populations split.
This technique has already revealed much of interest. For example, humans and chimpanzees have a common ancestor that lived some 6 million years ago, modern humans moved out of Africa and into Europe and Asia between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago but humans only began to populate the Americas about 15,000 years ago.
This work is hugely dependent on data. More detailed inferences are only possible with more data from a population. Fortunately, the genetic data that was so hard to come by just 10 years ago has now turned into a plentiful stream, even a fire hose. And new insights about human history are consequently emerging at a fast and furious rate.
Today, Shi Yan at Fudan University in Shanghai and a few pals have gathered blood samples from from 800 Chinese men and selected 110 for detailed genetic analysis. They say the results show that 40% of Chinese men are the descendants of just three men who lived in Neolithic times some 5000 years ago. That’s a total of 300 million men all living today who share three common grandfathers.
What’s more, it may even be possible to identify these super grandfathers by studying Chinese history from that time.
Read the full article at: medium.com
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