Mitochondrial Eve is a term from genetics and human evolution. It refers to a woman, whose mitochondrial DNA is a parent of all living humans. To put this more exactly, she is the female most recent common ancestor of all human alive at present.
How this is decided[change | change source]
Rather than use full DNA comparisons, two simpler methods are used:
This gives haplogroups (a haplogroup is a combination of genes on different chromosomal regions that are closely linked and tend to be inherited together).
The results[change | change source]
According to current research, Mitochondrial Eve lived about 200.000 years ago. Most likely she lived in East Africa, when Homo sapiens sapiens (anatomically modern humans) were developing as a population distinct from other human sub-species.
Mitochondrial Eve lived later than Homo heidelbergensis and the emergence of Homo neanderthalensis, but earlier than the out of Africa migration. 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 became dominant.
References[change | change source]
- Soares P, Ermini L, Thomson N; et al. (June 2009). "Correcting for purifying selection: an improved human mitochondrial molecular clock". Am. J. Hum. Genet. 84 (6): 740–59. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.05.001. PMC 2694979. PMID 19500773.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) University of Leeds - New ‘molecular clock’ aids dating of human migration history
- 'Your Genetic Journey' - The Genographic Project
- Endicott, P; Ho, SY; Metspalu, M; Stringer, C (September 2009), "Evaluating the mitochondrial timescale of human evolution", Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.), 24 (9): 515–21, doi:10.1016/j.tree.2009.04.006, PMID 19682765