DNA technology has lead many to ponder what could actually be in the world. For some of us, our links with DNA technology stays closer to a key tool in the endless variations of CSI and as a means to revive lost species in Jurassic Park.
However, perhaps soon on the tip of each person’s tongue will be the application of DNA hereditary testing and its potential for re-writing Chinese history.
For residents of the remote village of Liqian in northwestern Gansu province, this technology may prove that they are the descendants of a roaming band of Roman legionnaires who found their way to western China two millennia ago.
The Telegraph reports that scientist have collected blood samples from nearly 100 people in the region surround Liqian in the hope of discovering the reason why an unusual proportion of locals have Western characteristics that include green eyes, big noses, above average height, and even in some rare cases like 6 year old child Gu Meina, blonde hair. Her father Gu Jianming described the events surrounding his daughter’s natural blonde locks and his surprise about potential links with Roman Legionnaires…
“We shaved it off a month after she was born but it just grew back the same colour…”
“… At school they call her ‘yellow hair’. Before we were told about the Romans, we had no idea about this. We are poor and have no family temple, so we don’t know about our ancestors.”
The hypothesis that a wandering band of Roman legionnaires shacked up in north-western China 2000 years ago took almost 40 years to reach China as throughout Chairman Mao’s rule, ideas of foreign ancestries were not welcome and the story was suppressed.
Another recent application of DNA testing technology in China comes from proving your cred as part of the family tree of China’s most famous quotable guy, Confucius (or Kong zi).
Shanghaiist previously reported that The Beijing Institute of Genomics had embarked on its quest to establish a genomic database of Confucian descendants. However, it appears that their work is going to be a little more troublesome than first thought following its decision to expand the scope of the Kong zi’s lineage by including women and now, waiguoren.
Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee Chair, Kong Deyong, stated that the previous version of the Confucian lineage had identified 560,000 descendants of Confucius. However, this new revision which includes females and waiguoren is expected to include at least 1.8 million descendants, of which 50,000 are believed to live abroad.
Imagine hosting this family reunion during Spring Festival! Aiyo!
Photo taken from Flickr photostream of Wm Jas.