Mitochondrial dating updating html
The tree they ended up with showed that one of the two primary branches consisted only of African mt DNA and that the other branch consisted of mt DNA from all over the world, including Africa.
From this, they inferred that the most recent common mt DNA ancestor was an African woman.
Cann, Stoneking, and Wilson estimated the mutation rate by looking at the mt DNA of groups of people whose ancestors migrated to areas at known times.
If you know a little about the topic, perhaps you think of the 46 chromosomes that inhabit the nucleus of almost every cell that comprises your body.
Go to "Tracing Ancestry with Mt DNA" (Requires Flash plugin) Go to non-Flash version of "Tracing Ancestry with Mt DNA" Let's get back to "Eve." The ancestor referred to in the 1987 Nature article can be more precisely stated as "the most recent common ancestor through matrilineal descent of all humans living today." In other words, she is the most recent person from whom everyone now living on Earth has inherited his or her mt DNA.
This certainly does not mean that she is the ancestral mother of all who came after her; during her time and even before her time there were many women and men who contributed to the nuclear genes we now carry.
And since they now had an idea of how much the mt DNA had changed from the ancestor's, all they needed was the mutation rate to determine the age of the ancestor.
For instance, if they took the mutation rate to be one in every 1,000 years and knew that there was a difference of 10 mutations between the mt DNA of people living today and the mt DNA of an ancestor who lived long ago, then they could infer that the ancestor lived 10,000 years ago.