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DNA Testing Adopted to Identify Confucius Descendants

Those who claim themselves as descendants of Confucius would soon know whether it is true or not by offering a hair for DNA testing, Chinese scientists said.

Lacking proof, some people who want to be registered in the Confucius family tree turned to scientists after DNA research identified Florida accountant Tom Robinson as descendant of Genghis Khan.

The Beijing Institute of Genomics of Chinese Academy of Sciences has embarked on setting up a data base of Confucius descendants with DNA tests on a few direct ones.

Testing instrument can read the genetic information of a person within one day, and by comparing with the data base it is easy to tell if he or she is a descendant of Confucius, said Deng Yajun, an official with the Beijing Institute of Genomics.

The first step is to build the data base, which would contain the DNA of some real descendants of Confucius, as samples for the massive comparison.

Confucius (551-479 BC) was the founder of Confucianism, which advocates the building of a harmonious society through an individual's self-refinement in manners and taste.

Tom Robinson knew nothing about his origin besides his great, great-grandfather had come to the United States from England. He turned to the burgeoning field of "bioarchaeology," having his DNA tested only to be told that he is a direct descendant of Genghis Khan, much to his surprise.

The pedigree of Confucius, respectful term of address for Kongqiu, is currently under revision, which is proved to be a difficult task, said Kong Decheng, who is in charge of the revision.

Some people surnamed Kong believed they are descendants of the great philosopher, however, they do not have a pedigree or even have no idea which generation they belong to, Kong said.

Now the modern scientific way may be an idea solution, Deng Yajun said.

Confucianism dominated Chinese society for centuries, and spread to Europe in the late 16th century.

Confucius, a great thinker, philosopher, statesman and educator, has more than 3 million descendants with Qufu in Shandong Province as the main concentration area, according to latest statistics.

There are 2.5 million descendants of Confucius on the Chinese mainland, 100,000 in the Republic of Korea, and many also in the United States, Malaysia and Singapore.
The China Confucius Foundation (CCF) announced Tuesday it is to publish a standard portrait of the ancient philosopher in September in order to give him a single, recognizable identity around the world.

The CCF unveiled a draft sculpture of Confucius in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, to solicit suggestions for the final version of the portrait.

The sculpture depicts Confucius as an old man with a long beard, broad mouth and big ears. He wears a robe and crosses his hands on his chest.

The draft, based on the painting of Confucius by Wu Daozi of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), was created with advice from Confucian scholars, historians, artists and his descendants.

Scholars and believers around the world commemorate Confucius' birth at his hometown in Qufu every year to preserve the Confucian spirit of benevolence and honor.

Many scholars argued that research on the contemporary value of Confucianism would be conducive to the building of a harmonious society in China.

(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2006)

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