Tracking human origins

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is ideal for evolutionary analysis because of lack of recombination, a high substitution rate, and maternal inheritance. Previous analyses have been limited to short stretches of mtDNA, but in the 7 December Nature Ingman et al. present results based on complete mtDNA sequences of 53 humans of diverse origins (Nature 2000, 408:708-713). The greater detail allows the derivation of a phylogenetic tree for the sequences. Two pieces of data (the genetic distance between hum

By | December 7, 2000

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is ideal for evolutionary analysis because of lack of recombination, a high substitution rate, and maternal inheritance. Previous analyses have been limited to short stretches of mtDNA, but in the 7 December Nature Ingman et al. present results based on complete mtDNA sequences of 53 humans of diverse origins (Nature 2000, 408:708-713). The greater detail allows the derivation of a phylogenetic tree for the sequences. Two pieces of data (the genetic distance between human and chimpanzee mtDNA sequences, and the known time since these two species diverged) are used to calculate a mutation rate, which in turn allows dates to be assigned to branches of the human tree. The tree supports the idea of an African origin, with a most recent common ancestor 171,500 +/- 50,000 years ago. This was followed by a population bottleneck associated with the colonization of Eurasia from Africa.

Popular Now

  1. So You’ve Been Mistaken as a White Nationalist
  2. Opinion: We Need a Replacement for Beall’s List
  3. Your Body Is Teeming with Weed Receptors
    Features Your Body Is Teeming with Weed Receptors

    And the same endocannabinoid system that translates marijuana's buzz-inducing compounds into a high plays crucial roles in health and disease outside the brain.

  4. Doctors’ Advice to Finish Antibiotics Overlooks Resistance
AAAS