A Mongolian genome?

By Razib Khan | July 24, 2013 1:43 am

Citation: Xing J, Wuren T, Simonson TS, Watkins WS, Witherspoon DJ, et al. (2013) Genomic Analysis of Natural Selection and Phenotypic Variation in High-Altitude Mongolians. PLoS Genet 9(7): e1003634. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003634

Well, not quite. You have to read the paper, Genomic Analysis of Natural Selection and Phenotypic Variation in High-Altitude Mongolians, to see why I’m skeptical. Frankly it doesn’t seem like they found too much of note in their results, so I’m kind of confused why this paper got into PLOS GENETICS (and to give due credit, this group has published very interesting work in the past which I have smiled upon). So why am I even posting about this paper? Because I was pretty sure they’d release their data, and they have (just page down to the bottom). All researchers who take the trouble to do this should be praised, highlighted, and respected. This improves science. After the AHA fiasco I’m going to redouble the effort to put the spotlight on those who release their data.

Addendum: It must be noted that a “Mongolian” identity is very much an outcome of Genghis Khan’s rise and paramountcy. The Mongols were just one of numerous tribes across what is today Mongolia. With the rise of the Mongol Empire many populations, including Turkic populations who were not part of a dialect continuum in close proximity to the Mongols, were assimilated into that ethnic identity with a few generations. The “Zulu” identity is similar, as it is a function of the rise to prominence of Shaka’s particular clan.

MORE ABOUT: Human Genetics
  • Anthony_A

    My layman’s summary: DU Mongols appear to be genetically like a mixture of Buryat Mongols with some Tibetan ancestry. Certain genes common among Tibetans which are believed to control high-altitude adaptation have been selected for among DU Mongols. There are also genes shared with Buryat Mongols, believed to be related to cold-adaptation, which have also been selected for among DU Mongols (more strongly than among Buryat Mongols?).

    Is that correct? Is it significant?

    It sounds like they’ve confirmed something which would be suspected by people who’d given the matter any thought, but even confirming something obvious is worth something.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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