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D. Amgalanbaatar: Drinking and air pollution are changing Mongolian genes

By B.BYAMBADORJ

The following interview is with Ph.D D. Amgalanbaatar, the head of the Anatomy Department of the Health Sciences University of Mongolia. Translated from an article in the Udriin Sonin newspaper.

-Lately there have been heated discussions on the protection of Mongolia people’s genes. Tell us more about this.

-A Mongolian person, especially an educated Mongolian person, should be an instructor or an educator to a certain degree. An educated Mongolian should know and detect the changes that are happening to the sociology and psychology of the Mongolian population. This is how they will prevent future risks and dangers. As an educated doctor, I will speak on the problems that are arising in my field of study.
It is time to protect, expand and pay more heed to the family genes of Mongolians. This problem has reached a critical level for the second time in Mongolia.
The first time was in 1921, when nearly the entire population was infected with infectious diseases. Average life expectancy was 35 years. Child mortality was extremely high, and the total population of Mongolia was only around 400,000. At that time, anthropologists around the world were certain that the people they called Mongolians would die out. In any human or animal population, if their numbers fall below a certain threshold, in this case one million, they face the danger of becoming extinct.
At a critical moment at that time, we were able to revive our population as a result of corrective strategies and methods. What we did was we brought in six expeditions of Soviet Russian doctors to deal with the diseases infecting the almost the entire population, including tuberculosis, syphilis and gonorrhea.
With this decisive action by the Mongolian and Soviet administration, we saw significant population growth begin in 1960.
The second event is now happening right now. Our population of three million is not a lot of people. Unless we take a quick and concrete action, it will be easy to fall again.
-But isn’t the birth rate very high at this time?
-Our society is getting more and more civilized. The more people are civilized, the more they tend to shy away from having children. The more we become civilized, the less we become interested in children. Look at Japan. They are overwhelmed by their elderly population; more than half of their population is older people at least 70 years of age. England, France and Germany are facing similar problems.
No matter how much money or handouts the State promises, families are not having more than two children. We say in Mongolia that families should have three children, but that saying is all but forgotten. For some time the Mongolian Government gave cash support to the parents of newborn children, which encouraged families to have more children. But now birth rate is going back down.
I can’t blame anyone for that. School, education and work pile up and then all of a sudden would-be parents are 25 or 26 years old and they think it is enough to manage to have one child before they turn 30. When they are in their mid-30s they maybe have one more child and they are satisfied. This means that Mongolian’s population will peak at maybe a bit over 3 million then will gradually fall again.
There are Mongolians who are living in rural provinces, secluded from the main population. As the population there is very low they are unknowingly inbreeding. We Mongolians should preserve pure Mongolian genes; but it is time to pay attention to this dangerous issue.
-Well, although the birth rate has increased, the rates of abnormal children and children with disabilities have also increased. What is your say on this?
-This is also one of the factors that could eventually lead to extinction. This problem is occurring because Mongolia’s administration is divided into too small groups and divisions. There are 21 provinces and 300 soums in Mongolia. The soums are divided into baghs. In one bagh, for instance, there are 10 – 20 families. Due to this division, the families are limited to small spaces and the grassland for their herds are limited within their living territories. As a result, young Mongolians living there are being prevented from meeting new people. This is the foundation of indirect inbreeding, which is happening in those places. Before, there used to be an unwritten rule on this – you can marry someone if they are nine families away from you on your father’s side and at least four families away from you on your mother’s side. But what is happening today is that people are marrying each other even if they are only one family away. This is how the variety of genes in Mongolia is getting fewer by the day. Normally, when one person has a child with another person a whole new child of new genes should be born from them. But this is not happening because we ourselves are not giving it a chance. The most dangerous risk of inbreeding is that new illnesses are created.
-Can marrying into and becoming families with foreign people also affect this?
-Yes, because countries and nationalities are interbreeding, diseases and family genetic problems are also surfacing. Young people from foreign nations come to Mongolia intending to marry a Mongolian person. A Mongolian person would not normally try to become a family with a foreign national. The foreigners must have reasons for seeking to marry a Mongolian. Personally, I feel that they marry Mongolians because in their home countries they are known to have ancestral diseases so they do not have anyone to marry there. Lately, various diseases that I had never seen in Mongolia before have been occurring here; the ones that I know exist only abroad. This is evidence that new diseases are being brought here to Mongolia from other countries.
I will give one example here: Buddhism was brought to Mongolia from Tibet. At that time, monks and lamas were also brought in with the religion. So, what I know, and written documents say, is that the Parkinson’s diseases or the “shaky” disease was introduced to Mongolia. What this disease does is that a normal physically and mentally developed person is born but by the age of 25 they no longer can eat by themselves or speak. The reason is that a portion of their brain simply dies. This disease spread especially in Zavkhan Province’s Tsetsen—Uul soum. Now I have not heard much about this disease in that location lately, this could be because genes are cleaning the blood by themselves.
-Can ancestral diseases and defects be treated or cured?
-It is very difficult to treat or cure diseases such as these. These diseases are in people’s blood, in their genes; not much can be done about it. There was one specific ancestral (genetic) disease discovered in Dornod Province – affected individuals have abnormal elbows. It is a very awful disease. Our medical team went out there and made some studies. It is a gene-specific disease so it will clear out over time. They have isolated the group of affected individuals.
We Mongolians have an old saying: look into your partner’s history and families before becoming a family. This is to know whether a disease like this is lurking in their family and to protect yourself and your children from that.
-How can people with ancestral diseases be identified and distinguished from the public? It would not be right to announce it to the public, would it?
-It is complicated. We cannot simply just announce that there is a certain ancestral disease or anomaly discovered in this province or that soum. It is directly connected with human rights. In these cases the government should take this into their own hands. They should develop some sort of a small and medium enterprise there, and provide all the required living standards for whoever wants to move there.
This is probably the best method; to wait for the said disease to die out. We cannot just kill the affected people. But when people get married both parties should get official papers on each other’s ancestors; for example, which tribe they are from, what sort of people’s blood they have, and how their elderly family members died.
The government may need to take this issue very seriously, especially in the case of Mongolian nationals marrying foreign people.
-Can uncontrolled drinking and air pollution affect this?
-Yes, drinking is definitely one of the major causes for Mongolian genes to become polluted and destroyed. Uncontrolled drinking has very bad effects for the genetic fund.
Lately, there is one certain false rumor flying about. A pregnant woman drinks 100 grams of alcohol and a very healthy, fat baby is born. This is a very serious and dangerous hoax.
Based on this claim our team conducted tests on mice. We gave alcohol to a pregnant mouse and when the baby mouse was born it looked like it was all fine, physically that is. But it was mentally abnormal. You know there are children who seem smart but cannot do well academically; or a kid who likes exercise but cannot show real success in sports.
That mouse would walk and run on its food and water, and sometimes defecate on them. This is the affect alcohol has on the mind.
So now we concluded that although alcohol did not affect physical features, children could possibly have severe spinal or brain abnormalities. We must always respect the Mongolian mind and its variety. But when these children are born they are mentally challenged and have alcohol poisoning in their brains and bodies.
When alcohol overwhelms society, it is a sign that the end of that society is near. Just now the government doubled the VAT on alcohol, this decision is a good one.
Additionally, it is obvious that environmental changes would negatively affect the genetic pool of the Mongolian people. Due to all the dust and other pollutants in the air, abnormal babies with problems we had never even heard of before are now being born. A set of quintuplet lambs were born in Bayankhongor Province. A set of quadruplet lambs were born in Uvurkhangai Province. This is nothing to be happy about. Sheep are not dogs; giving birth to four lambs is not normal. These two provinces have a lot of gold; with many mining projects digging up the ground all over their territories. The poisoned animals from mining pollution are showing abnormalities that Mongolia has not seen before. This simply represents how bad the pollution is.
The independent gold miners – the ones that are always scolded by mining companies and the government alike – are working at the centre of all this danger. They are exposed daily to mercury and cyanide. We can expect slight mutation due to pollution in the Mongolian gene pool in the next few years.
-It is said that a Mongolian females have a high capability in giving her genes to her offspring; thus when Mongolian women have children with foreign men, the Mongolian genes overwhelm the man’s genes resulting in a more Mongolian baby. Is this true?
-If a Mongolian woman has a baby with an African person, the baby will most likely be black-skinned. This is because her gene will take and adopt the black man’s gene very quickly, and successfully purifies itself. But Chinese or European women are different.
-Lately, young women are using supplements that claims that it causes weight loss, what can you tell about this?
-This is also very complicated. Babies may be affected by these drugs. Some of them are completely out of the body within a year. Some of them stay for the rest of their lives. The weight-loss supplements and additional nutrition are games people play with their health and life.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=1194

Posted by on Sep 28 2012. Filed under Топ мэдээ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “D. Amgalanbaatar: Drinking and air pollution are changing Mongolian genes”

  1. [...] Department of the Health Sciences University of Mongolia. Translated from an … Read more on UB Postgoogle_ad_client = "pub-2446483194868839"; /* AboutAirPollution 468×60, created 21/05/11 */ [...]

  2. This is bad science. If this man really is a Ph.D he needs to go back to school. So much of what he says here is not science, but old rumors and folk tales which were proven false by science over the last 100 years. I hope he isn’t a professor, all the world needs is more people believing this garbage.

  3. What kind of ice-age this this ‘doctor’ study?
    Alcohol and dust changing our genes?
    Foreigners introducing Parkinsons into Mongolia?
    Parkinsons at 25 yrs old???
    As a foreigner married to Mongolian, I feel wrongly accused of seeking to marry here ‘because due to my ancestral medical history I cannot marry in my home country’. WTF???
    Who is this idiot, and who decided to giv him so much time on this furthermore fine website?

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