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Y-chromosomal Adam

In human genetics, Y-chromosomal Adam is the male counterpart to mitochondrial Eve: a real or hypothetical single male human ancestor from whom all male Y chromosomes are descended. Unlike other genes, those of the Y chromosome are passed exclusively from father to son, just as mitochondrial DNA is passed exclusively from mother to daughter.

If such a person existed, he probably lived between 35,000 and 90,000 years ago years ago, judging from molecular clock studies. While their descendants certainly became close intimates, Y-chromosomal Adam and mitochondrial Eve themselves never met: rather, they lived many thousands of years apart. They are named after the characters called "Adam" and "Eve" in Genesis, but should not be identified with them. Based on the DNA of peoples living in Africa today, both Y-chromosomal Adam and mitochondrial Eve are believed to have lived in Africa.

See also: genetic drift -- molecular evolution

External References

     Yuehai Ke et al, Science 2001 292: 1151-1153

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