Support from Mitochondrial DNA, Douglas Wallace
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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Mitochondrial DNA pioneer Douglas Wallace explains the movement of different lineages of humans from Africa into Europe and Asia.
Mitochondrial DNA pioneer Douglas Wallace speaks about the movement of different populations out of Africa.
Mitochondrial DNA research pioneer Douglas Wallace speaks about the populations he samples and the direct application of the research.
Mitochondrial DNA pioneer Douglas Wallace talks about the migrations of people from Asia into the Americas.
Molecular geneticist Douglas Wallace talks about the way mitochondrial DNA is inherited.
Molecular geneticist Douglas Wallace talks about the origin of our mitochondria and the DNA within.
Mitochondrial DNA pioneer Douglas Wallace speaks about a possible migration of people from Europe to the Americas, 15,000 years ago.
Geneticist Douglas Wallace explains a method of mapping a population's history using the mutations accumulated by its members.
Geneticist Mark Stoneking, co-author of an early mitochondrial DNA paper, talks about the competing theories of human origins.
This illustration shows the two major mitochondrial DNA lineages. The lower branch includes only African populations. The upper branch has both African and non-African members.