For His `Mitochondrial Eve' Research

Allan C. Wilson, who used DNA to trace the origin of modern humans to a woman living 200,000 years ago, has received the 1991 3M Life Sciences Award, presented by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). The $25,000 award, sponsored annually by the Minneapolis-based 3M Corp. since 1975, was presented to Wilson in Atlanta at the annual meeting of FASEB, held in April. Wilson is a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1987 Wilson and his colleagues at Berkeley published research that compared the mitochondrial DNA of women from five regions of the world (Nature, 325:31-37, 1987). Mitochondrial DNA is inherited solely from one's mother, and hence the only intergenerational differences are those arising through random mutations. Wilson had previously established that human mitochondrial DNA mutates at a constant rate, and his team used this...

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