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Genetic Adam and Eve lived at roughly the same time, study finds – Science Recorder

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Genetic Adam and Eve lived at roughly the same time, study finds – Science Recorder
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Genetic Adam and Eve lived at roughly the same time, study findsIn a new study, scientists reveal that they have discovered the oldest common ancestor for humans. Rather than the first human ever, this common ancestor is a person that almost every single person currently living can trace their lineage to. Published in the journal Science, the study overturns previous research that suggested that the most recent common ancestor was only 50 to 60,000 years old. Not so, the new study asserts. Humans can actually trace their lineage back to a common ancestor, a man who lived about 135,000 years ago. Researchers believe that so-called modern humans left Africa between 60 and 200,000 years ago, but details about common ancestors have been sparse, the Huffington Post explains.

Because the male chromosome, the Y chromosome, is passed down identically from father to son, it is straightforward to go back and examine Y chromosomes to identify a common ancestor. DNA inside mitochondria is used to trace female lineage. It’s not quite as straightforward to trace backwards as it seems, however. The male chromosome gets confusing with duplicate strands of DNA, making it more difficult to comb through the history. Gene sequencing is required to set the record straight and to be able to positively identify the Y chromosome’s unique identifier.

Carlos Bustamante, a geneticist at Stanford University, and his colleagues, performed the first major Y chromosome tracing study to examine common ancestry. To do so, they sequenced the entire Y chromosome in 69 men from seven different global populations. The team accounted for mutation due to archaeological events, such as the crossing of the Bering Strait, and concluded that the most recent common ancestor lived between 125,000 and 156,000 years ago. The study authors also utilized mitochondrial DNA from the men, passed down from their mothers in utero, to find the most recent common female ancestor, whom they estimate lived between 99,000 and 148,000 years ago.

Another study published in the same issue of Science found a male common ancestor that lived about 180,000 years ago, raising questions of the study’s accuracy. But the accuracy of the study is not what is in question; rather, it is the study’s sample population. In both cases, the studies examined a select number of men whose ancestry they traced. Since it is impossible to study every single human in a massive study on human ancestry, it is entirely possible that both studies are correct and that the populations sampled just had a different group of humans that they studied. In future studies, it is possible that scientists will be able to come up with other determining factors that will allow them to further clarify this point.

Science – Google News


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