Mitochondrial Eve

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Early diversification.PNG

In the field of human genetics, Mitochondrial Eve refers to the most recent common matrilineal ancestor from whom all living humans are descended. Passed down from mother to offspring, all mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in every living person is directly descended from hers. Mitochondrial Eve is the female counterpart of Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal most recent common ancestor, although they lived thousands of years apart.

Mitochondrial Eve is generally estimated to have lived around 200,000 years ago,[2] most likely in East Africa,[3] when Homo sapiens sapiens ("anatomically modern humans") were developing as a population distinct from other human sub-species.

Mitochondrial Eve lived much earlier than the out of Africa migration that is thought to have occurred between 95,000 to 45,000 BP.[4] The dating for 'Eve' was a blow to the multiregional hypothesis, and a boost to the hypothesis that modern humans originated relatively recently in Africa and spread from there, replacing more "archaic" human populations such as Neanderthals. As a result, the latter hypothesis is now the dominant one.

Contents

Female and mitochondrial ancestry

Without a DNA sample, it is not possible to reconstruct the complete genetic makeup (genome) of any individual who died very long ago. By analysing descendants' DNA, however, parts of ancestral genomes are estimated by scientists. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome are commonly used to trace ancestry in this manner. mtDNA is generally passed un-mixed from mothers to children of both sexes, along the maternal line, or matrilineally.[5][6] Matrilineal descent goes back to our mothers, to their mothers, until all female lineages converge.

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