MITOCHONDRIAL EVE Biography - Famous Scientists


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Mitochondrial Eve is the name given by researchers to the woman who is           
defined as the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently 
living humans. Passed down from mothers to offspring for over a hundred thousand 
years, her mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is now found in all living humans: every   
mtDNA in every living person is derived from hers. Mitochondrial Eve is the     
female counterpart of Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal most recent common     
ancestor, although they lived at different times.                               
She is believed to have lived about 140,000 years ago in what is now Ethiopia,   
Kenya or Tanzania. The time she lived is calculated based on                     
the molecular clock technique of correlating elapsed time with observed genetic 
Mitochondrial Eve is the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all humans via   
the mitochondrial DNA pathway, not the unqualified MRCA of all humanity. All     
living humans can trace their ancestry back to the MRCA via at least one of     
their parents, but Mitochondrial Eve can only be reached via the maternal line. 
Therefore, she necessarily lived much longer ago than the MRCA of all humanity. 
The existence of Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam does not imply the     
existence of population bottlenecks or a first couple. They each lived within a 
large human population at a different time. Some of their contemporaries have no 
living descendants today, and others are ancestors of all people alive today. No 
contemporary of Mitochondrial Eve or Y-chromosomal Adam is an ancestor of only a 
subset of people alive today, because both of them lived much longer ago than   
the identical ancestors point.