Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation Completes Major DNA Collection Effort in Mongolia to Study the Descendants of Ancient Nomads from Eurasian Steppes: Collection, Performed in Partnership with the National University of Mongolia, Will Be the Most Comprehensive in the History of Mongolia, Incorporating All of the Country's Geographic Regions and Major Ethnic Populations

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The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), a non-profit scientific organization developing the world's largest online repository of correlated genetic and family history information, today announced that it has completed a major Mongolia DNA collection initiative.

This official collaboration involving SMGF and NUM's departments of Molecular Biology, Archeology and Anthropology is an unprecedented multidisciplinary research effort

    The project, performed in partnership with the National University of Mongolia (NUM), collected more than 3,000 DNA samples and related multi-generation pedigree charts from individuals in all of the country's geographic regions, from 24 separate ethnic groups and tribes.

For many centuries, Mongolians have held an ongoing fascination in genealogy, spurred in part by reverence for ancestors and for oral traditions - with some family and clan names stretching back as far as the 10th Century (AD). Under Genghis Khan's rule in the 13th Century, Mongols invaded Eurasian territory, then ruled there for more than two centuries. In the 20th century the then-USSR gained political control of Mongolia and its leaders systematically worked to eradicate Mongolian national identity - especially the Khan connection - executing or imprisoning an estimated 100,000 Mongols between 1922 and 1940. In recent years, however, there has been a renaissance of Mongolian national identity, accompanied by a widespread search for Mongolian genetic roots - which the SMGF-NUM partnership will continue to foster.

"In light of the global fascination with Mongolian icons such as Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun, this project represents an unprecedented opportunity to shed light on the population and genetic histories of their descendants," said Dr. Scott Woodward, executive director of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and one of the world's leading genetic genealogy researchers. "While we cannot yet provide direct genetic answers about Khan and Attila, we can learn and share a tremendous amount about the people of Mongolia - and potential genetic connections between these important populations and people in neighboring countries and throughout the world."

Primary purposes for the joint SMGF-NUM project include:

-- Studying unique genetic characteristics of the indigenous and mixed populations that make up the Mongolian population.

-- Analyzing the Mongolian population groups, based on demographic, anthropological and cultural characteristics.

-- Documenting and preserving oral histories.

-- Incorporating significant new correlated historic and genetic data into SMGF's publicly-available Sorenson Database.

-- Promoting family history record-keeping and increasing the availability of genealogical record keeping throughout Mongolia.

"Our joint research project among the different ethnic groups of Mongolia provided important fieldwork experience for our students," said Dr. D. Tumen, head of Department of Anthropology and Archeology at the National University of Mongolia. "It will greatly help us further our local understanding of the origin and biological relationships of Mongolian groups in the past and present."

"This official collaboration involving SMGF and NUM's departments of Molecular Biology, Archeology and Anthropology is an unprecedented multidisciplinary research effort," added Dr. D. Bayarlkhagva, head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the National University of Mongolia. "I am confident it will create great interest among the Mongolian populace in keeping family history records, while facilitating the availability of many such records, which will constitute a national treasure."

SMGF and NUM will utilize the information gathered from the project to analyze the genetic diversity of selected Mongolian populations (indigenous and non-indigenous), in order to build a comprehensive genetic and genealogical map of the region. SMGF and NUM will compare results obtained from their current studies with reports obtained from other populations in Mongolia and elsewhere, and jointly publish the results in books, journals and other publications. They also plan to share their findings in a variety of national and global genetic and genealogical settings, ranging from courses and seminars to conferences and conventions.

Key information will also be posted on the SMGF website (http://www.smgf.org), the world's leading online repository of correlated genetic and family history information for people throughout the world, which currently contains in excess of five million records from more than 170 countries.

For information about other places throughout the world in which SMGF has performed DNA collection projects, visit http://www.smgf.org/maps/collections.jspx.

About Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), a non-profit research organization, is the pioneer in the rapidly developing fields of genetic genealogy and DNA analysis. Combining powerful new DNA research with conventional genealogy, SMGF has created a potent new "Rosetta Stone" of genetic understanding that connects individuals throughout the world with their ancestors and living relatives. SMGF has created the world's largest repository of correlated genetic and genealogical information - more than 4 million total ancestors' names representing linked DNA samples and pedigree charts from 170-plus countries, about two thirds of the nations of the world. Visit http://www.smgf.org.

About the National University of Mongolia

The National University of Mongolia (NUM) is the country's oldest and only comprehensive university and a leading center of sciences, education and culture. It was established on October 5, 1942 in the capital city Ulaanbaatar. NUM has played a significant role in the development of higher education in Mongolia. After sixty years of dynamic growth, NUM has educated generations of professionals in various fields and its graduates make one third of the country's intellectuals. It has twelve schools and faculties in Ulaanbaatar and campuses in three provinces. In 2006 NUM had an estimated 12,000 students enrolled, including 2,000 graduate students. The University offers a broad range of Bachelor, Master and PhD programs. Visit http://num.edu.mn.

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