December 27, 2011

Y-chromosome of Emperor Cao Cao: O2

Thanks to the wonders of population genetics, not only do we have a good inference of the Y-haplogroups of Cao Cao and Cao Shen, but we can also falsify (?) the claim of descent of a Chinese emperor from 18-19 centuries ago.

That's 4x deeper in time than the Y-haplogroup of Nurhaci. It would be great if a similar study could produce conclusive results for Confucius descendants.

And, I'm sure that the burial sites of many important European historical figures are well-known, as are the lines of descent of many descendants of the old nobility.  In a roundabout way, we obtained the Y-DNA of Louis XVI, and Tsar Nicholas II, but there is plenty more to be discovered.

 J Hum Genet. 2011 Dec 22. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2011.147. [Epub ahead of print]

Present Y chromosomes reveal the ancestry of Emperor CAO Cao of 1800 years ago.

Wang C, Yan S, Hou Z, Fu W, Xiong M, Han S, Jin L, Li H.

Abstract Emperor CAO Cao (155AD-220AD) is one of the most famous persons in Chinese history that had changed the history of East Asia. He claimed to be a descendant of Marquis CAO Can and therefore was of aristocratic ancestry. However, this claim has been suspected for around 1800 years. Here, we collected some present clans with full records of 70-100 generations claimed to be descendants of CAO Cao or CAO Can, and validated them by comparing their Y chromosomes. Haplotype O2-M268 is the only one that is enriched significantly in the Emperor's claimed descendant clans (P=9.323 × 10(-5), odds ratio=12.72) and, therefore, is most likely to be that of the Emperor. Moreover, our analysis showed that the Y chromosome haplotype of the Emperor is different from that of the Marquis (Haplotype O3-002611). Therefore, Emperor CAO Cao's claim was not supported by genetic evidence. This study offers a successful showcase of the utility of genetics in studying the ancient history.


MimiTabby said...

couldn't he have been related to the Marquise via his mother's side, thus no Y chromosome would help?

Abarenbo said...

Where did you get the idea that Cao Cao Y-Chromosome should be the same as Marquis Cao Shen's ? I think everyone who learn history know that Cao Cao's father, Cao Song was an adopted son of Cao Teng, a powerful eunuch in Eastern Han Dynasty. Cao Song's real surname is Xiahou. So I think they should check the Y-Chromosome of Cao Cao descendants with Y-Chromosome from Xiaohou family, not with Cao Shen's descendants.