Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The CPA And The DNA

The London Times reports DNA tests show a Florida accountant is descended from Genghis Khan via his paternal great-great-grandfather who came from England’s green-and-pleasant Lake District. But there’s a better theory.
Tom Robinson, 48, has become the first man outside Asia to trace his ancestry directly to Genghis Khan, the 13th-century Mongol leader whose empire stretched from the South China Sea to the Persian Gulf.

And, since his paternal great-great-grandfather emigrated to the United States from Windermere, Cumbria, many more descendants are probably scattered across the Lake District.

Genetic tests have revealed that Mr Robinson, a professor of accountancy at the University of Miami, shares crucial portions of his DNA with the Mongol ruler.

He has little in common with his infamous ancestor. He is not a keen horseman. Though a Republican, his politics are moderate. And while Genghis Khan may have fathered thousands of children, Professor Robinson and his wife, Linda, have no offspring.
But his ancestor is not necessarily GK (my emphasis):
The link is revealed by the Y chromosome, a packet of DNA that determines male sex, which is passed down from father to son. Men who share a Y chromosome are invariably descended from the same man at some point in the past, and the accumulation of mutations can be used to date the common ancestor.

(A) 2003 study found that large numbers of Asian men from the regions that once made up the Mongol empire shared a single Y chromosome, and that this originated in a man who lived in the early 13th century…

Genghis Khan lived from about 1162 to 1227 and fathered hundreds or even thousands of children as his armies swept across the continent. This makes him by far the most probable source of the common chromosome.
Seems pretty implausible to me – running an army of 200,000 while laying waste to Asia and Europe wouldn't have left much spare time for impregnating thousands of women. No doubt he did collect lots of wives - having massacred their men - but these would have been survivors, and hence smart enough to keep quiet about who really fathered their kids.

My theory is that GK had an army of accountants to manage the finances of his complex operation. They - as accountants do now - would have stayed out of the battles, turning up only for victory feasts. So, when each new fresh crop of females was captured, these accountants alone had the time and energy to procreate.

This explains why their descendants immigrated to the Brit Lake District – a known hotbed of liberal-minded accountants - and hence why the chap in Florida has the special DNA.

QED.