Who is the original source?

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Editor:

Re: Genghis Khan and your children (PM Friday, 23 December 2011) – I’m half Sicilian from the southwestern side and half Marchesan Italian. I and all my siblings were born with the blue spot, but mine looked like someone punched me. The doctor told my mom that she was Sicilian as soon as he saw my back.

Why do so many Sicilian babies have this spot? I have read that Sicilians are 10% sub-Saharan black and that both Muslims and Jews who emigrated eventually converted to Christianity. Those who came to the island in large measure probably never left, so their DNA was mixed in with the local gene pool.

I would like to know if there are any DNA studies which have matched this Sicilian Mongolian spot with another likely source, in the absence of a direct invasion by Khan’s forces. I read that there were Mongol invasions from eastern Europe and the northern Middle East, but I am not clear as to whether Sicily was occupied. As an island, there must have been a lot of trade and docking of ships which could have left a lot of DNA in the local population. Also, why do so many blacks have the spot and does that include blacks from anywhere in Africa, or only Eastern Africans? How did so many Africans get this spot from the Kahns or hordes, or are the Africans the original source?

Elizabeth Garlington

Ed replies: Dr Iain Corness tells me: “Genghis Khan and the Mongol hordes certainly dropped seed far and wide, remembering that they conquered more than half the world as it was known in those days. Once the gene is in the gene pool, it can be carried anywhere, so to find Mongolian Blue Spot in Sicily does not surprise me.”