Y-chromosomal Adam

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Y-chromosomal Adam is the most recent male human who all living male humans are patrilinearly descended from. He is the male counterpart to Mitochondrial Eve.

Because the Y chromosome in human males is only passed down through males, it is possible to trace lineage from son-to-father backwards in time. Accounting for minor genetic mutations over time, males can find common ancestors (which is how scientists were able to determine that 0.5% of all human males on Earth, and 8% of all Asian men, are descended from prolific lover/rapist/rapist developer Genghis Khan)[1].

Y-chromosomal Adam was a real person, but is named after Adam from Book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible. In Christian mythology, Y-chromosomal Adam would actually be Noah; in reality, scientists don't know who Y-chromosomal Adam actually was (and the odds are good that he wasn't the named Adam or Noah). Unlike Adam from the Bible (and very much like Noah), Y-chromosomal Adam was not the only male on Earth; instead, all of his male contemporaries failed to produce exclusively male lineages that continue to live today.

It is also understood that Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, unlike Biblical Adam and Eve, need not have lived together in the same location or period of time, and were almost certainly not mates.

[edit] How long ago did he live?

Calculations by the geneticist Spencer Wells have shown that this man lived around 60,000 years ago.[2] Other calculations put the time of Y-Adam as far back as 142,000 years ago[3], over twice that of Wells' date.

In 2013, a recently-deceased man was found whose Y-chromosome DNA did not match any of the others previously acquired. This new information would now put the estimate for Y-chromosomal Adam to have been alive 340,000 years ago.[4]. However, this value was derived from a low estimate of the mutation rate[5][6]. More recent estimates of the mutation rate, based on ancient DNA data[7], suggest that the date should be ~20% younger.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. [1]
  2. Hillary Mayell (2003). "Documentary Redraws Humans' Family Tree"(National Geographic News). Accessed November 17, 2007.
  3. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002929711001649
  4. [2]
  5. [3]
  6. [4]
  7. [5]


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