Y chromosome ancestry, Michael Hammer

Interviewee: Michael Hammer. Evolutionary geneticist Michael Hammer talks about tracing modern Y chromosomes back to a common ancestor. (DNAi Location: Applications > Human origins > Gene genealogy >The Y chromosome > Y chromosome ancestry)

Our work has shown, as has others, that the Y chromosome diversity we see in men today traces back to a single man who lived probably in Africa. And when I say a single man, we have to be cautious in how we interpret that. There were many men living at the time, but because of the way the Y chromosome is inherited, as you trace it back in time it has to trace to a single common ancestor. Just as a boy's Y chromosome today traces to his dad, his grandfather, his great-grandfather; it's not tracing to his other grandfathers and great-grandfathers and grandmothers, obviously because they don't have a Y chromosome. But the grandfathers who didn't bear the son didn't transmit their Y chromosome to the next generation. So, it has to ultimately trace back to a single man. One of many men living in the population at the time.

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