A news release announces the completion of a DNA collection project by SMGF (Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation) in Mongolia. The goal of the project is to study the descendants of ancient nomads from the Eurasian steppes. The collection was performed in conjunction with the National University of Mongolia and represents â€œthe most comprehensive [DNA collection project] in the history of Mongolia, incorporating all of the countryâ€™s geographic regions and major ethnic populations.â€ In total, more than 3,000 DNA samples and pedigree charts were obtained from 24 different ethnic groups.
According to the news release, the â€œglobal fascination with Mongolian icons such as Genghis Khan and Attila the Hunâ€ played a role in promoting the project:
â€œFor many centuries, Mongolians have held an ongoing fascination in genealogy, spurred in part by reverence for ancestors and for oral traditions â€“ with some family and clan names stretching back as far as the 10th Century (AD). Under Genghis Khanâ€™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
and its leaders systematically worked to eradicate Mongolian national identity â€“ especially the Khan connection â€“ 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 â€“ which the SMGF-NUM partnership will continue to foster.â€ Mongolia