DNA, RNA, Chromosomes, and Genes


What are “mitochondrial Eve” and “Y chromosome Adam”?

Until recently, mitochondrial Eve and Y chromosome Adam were proposed by some researchers to be the one pair of humans that lived at a certain point in human evolution, from whom all humans descended. The main reason the mitochondria are useful for such evolutionary studies is that they are passed intact from the mother to the children, with no mixing of the father’s genes; plus, the DNA within the mitochondria quickly picks up mutations and keeps them, while the Y chromosome does not exchange genetic material with other chromosomes. With more studies, such as the Human Genome Project and others, scientists now believe that humans did not evolve from a single genetic region from these two humans only. Instead, they believe that pockets of genetically isolated communities eventually would produce our human diversity.


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