Nature checks our DNA and finds that, yes, a lot of us are related to the Mongolian conqueror… but Genghis Khan ain’t the only big daddy:
“Lots of men have lots of sons, by chance. But what normally doesn’t happen is the sons have a high probability of having lots of sons themselves. You have to have a reinforcing effect,” says [Mark Jobling, a geneticist at the University of Leicester, UK]. Establishment of such successful lineages often depends on social systems that allow powerful men to father children with multitudes of women.
In addition to Genghis Khan and his male descendants, researchers have previously identified the founders of two other highly successful Y-chromosome lineages: one that began in China with Giocangga, a Qinq Dynasty ruler who died in 1582, and another belonging to the medieval Uí Néill dynasty in Ireland.
The other nine lineages originated throughout Asia, from the Middle East to southeast Asia, dating to between 2100 bc and ad 700. Jobling warns that these dates come with huge margins of error, but he notes that the estimates for the lineages attributed to Khan and Giocangga are very close to those of past studies.
…[L]ineages seem to have expanded westwards, possibly along the Silk Road trade route. Historians have documented a series of polities based in inner Asia between 200 bc and the eighteenth century, such as the Qing Dynasty. Jobling says that these civilizations could have fostered dominant male lineages after the sons of a fecund founder decamped to satellite outposts, where they, in turn, fathered powerful descendants.
“Fecund,” as a reminder (h/t Dan Carlin), here likely means, “massive serial rapist.” The Mongols, especially, were not kind to those conquered in battle.