Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) human family tree
An interactive illustration of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) human family tree, showing the two major mtDNA lineages (African populations and African/non-African populations). In 1987, a Californian research team used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to construct a human family tree. Their tree had two distinct branches: one contained only African mtDNA types; and the second was a mixture of all population types. The branch with African mtDNA types was closest to the tree root. Using this data, the team traced the lineage of modern humans back to a common ancestor who lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago. (DNAi location: Applications > Human Origins > Gene genealogy > Tracing ancestries > Tracing our maternal lineage)
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- ID: 15610
- Source: DNALC.DNAi
Geneticist Mark Stoneking speaks about the findings of early mitochondrial DNA studies.
Mitochondrial DNA research pioneer Douglas Wallace speaks about mitochondrial DNA and theories of human evolution.
Geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer talks about the mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome lineages of our ancestors.
A pedigree illustrating maternal inheritance of mtDNA and paternal inheritance of the Y chromosome.
Geneticist Douglas Wallace explains a method of mapping a population's history using the mutations accumulated by its members.
Geneticist Mark Stoneking, one of the authors of a controversial 1987 paper on mtDNA, talks about our common female ancestor.
Mitochondrial DNA pioneer Douglas Wallace explains the movement of different lineages of humans from Africa into Europe and Asia.
Meet the extended family
Mitochondrial genome sequences humans populations modern MRCA most recent common ancestor ancestry relationships phylogenetic trees mtDNA Macaulay.
In 1967, Allan Wilson and Vince Sarich published their estimate that the human lineage had separated from the great apes five million years ago.