DNA tests for China’s legionary lore

RESIDENTS of a remote Chinese village are hoping DNA tests will prove one of history’s most unlikely legends, that they are descended from Roman legionaries lost in antiquity.

Scientists have taken blood samples from 93 people living around Liqian, a settlement in north-western China on the fringes of the Gobi Desert, more than 300 kilometres from the nearest city.

They are seeking an explanation for the unusual number of local people with Western characteristics – green eyes, big noses, and even blond hair – mixed with traditional Chinese features.

“I really think we are descended from the Romans,” said Song Guorong, 48, who with his wavy hair, 1.8-metre frame and strikingly long, hooked nose stands out from his short, round-faced colleagues.

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