Complex story told by tracing genes back to common ancestors, Michael Hammer

Interviewee: Michael Hammer. Evolutionary geneticist Michael Hammer talks about the limitations of Y-chromosome research and the histories of different genes. (DNAi Location: Applications > Human origins > Gene genealogy > Other genome regions > Genes: a mosaic of histories)

There were many people living at each, you know, in the past, it's only through, sort of the lottery of who has children and who doesn't over many generations that some lineages are lost for the population. And so we don't see them today, but those people lived and made contributions. And they have made contributions in their autosomal DNA, their X chromosome DNA, their mitochondrial DNA that we're not seeing by looking at Y chromosomes. So many genes, each part of the genome has got its own genealogical history that goes back to maybe different people. So we can trace the Y chromosome back to a single ancestor, and may call him Y chromosome Adam, but that man did not contribute his genes, necessarily other genes, to the population living today. So there are many stories being told by tracing different genes in the genome back to common ancestors. Because of the process of recombination, some of those stories are too complicated to unravel, because each gene is kind of a mosaic of many histories. Evolutionary geneticist Michael Hammer talks about tracing modern Y chromosomes back to a common ancestor.

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