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Image: Tom Robinson
David J. Sheakley  /  AP file
Tom Robinson, shown here while visiting Alaska, was at first told that he was a direct descendant of the 13th-century Mongol warrior Genghis Khan — but now he says a second opinion determined that he is on "a different branch" of the tree that Genghis was on.
updated 6/21/2006 5:36:36 PM ET 2006-06-21T21:36:36

An accounting professor who thought he was a direct descendant of the fearsome Mongol warrior Genghis Khan has now been told: Never mind.

Tom Robinson, 48, said Wednesday that a second DNA test, by Family Tree DNA in Houston, showed that he matched some genetic markers with Genghis Khan — but that a direct line, as an earlier test had indicted, wasn’t likely after all.

“A marker that they tested showed that I was on a different branch of the tree than Genghis Khan was on,” said Robinson. “He and I have a common ancestor, but I’m not descended from him.”

Robinson, whose great-great-grandfather came to America from England, said he sought a second opinion after a British firm, Oxford Ancestors, said tests made on Robinson’s Y chromosome showed he appeared to be a direct descendant of the 13th-century warrior.

Oxford Ancestors is a commercial firm established in 2001 by Oxford University geneticist Bryan Sykes, which offers DNA testing to roots-seekers around the world.

Because Genghis Khan’s burial place is unknown, the tests are based on probabilities, and Oxford Ancestors’ results were initially met with skepticism by some scientists.

The British company’s spokesman, Benjamin Webb, said the firm would be happy to retest Robinson’s results.

Robinson, an associate accounting professor at the University of Miami, canceled a planned trip to Mongolia after learning of the new results. He said he never sought publicity on his ancestry.

“The results that Family Tree DNA gave me are pretty conclusive,” he said. “I’m certainly not going to look for any more tests on Genghis Khan.”

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