Interviewee: Douglas Wallace.
Mitochondrial DNA research pioneer Douglas Wallace speaks about mitochondrial DNA and theories of human evolution.
(DNAi Location: Applications > Human origins > Migrations > Videos > Support from Mitochondrial DNA)
So the key observations in the mitochondrial DNA that were most surprising at the beginning was the realization that all human females and therefore all of humanity is related through one big common tree. So we all go back to a single, original group of people that lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago. And so that was very exciting because there were other ideas. One idea was that in fact that people that lived in Africa, in Europe, and in Asia had each lived in those continents for many millions of years and had, each population had become human independently. If that were true, then we would have expected the mitochondrial DNA lineages to be like a set of three palm trees, with very, very long stalks and then a bushy top, where, which would correspond to the people in Europe, Asia, or Africa. But rather than a cluster of palm trees, which would have given this so-called multi-regional concept of human origins, we found that in fact it was more like a bush, with short branches and then with the bushy part sticking out from the main core. So that implied that in fact all the different populations were related to each other through a recent common ancestor, and that common ancestor clearly was in Africa.
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