Human chromosome much older than previously thought
2013-03-20 0:00

From: Heritage Daily

A newly discovered chromosome places the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage more 100,000 years before the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

UA geneticists have discovered the oldest known genetic branch of the human Y chromosome – the hereditary factor determining male sex.

The new divergent lineage, which was found in an individual who submitted his DNA to Family Tree DNA, a company specializing in DNA analysis to trace family roots, branched from the Y chromosome tree before the first appearance of anatomically modern humans in the fossil record.

The results are published in the American Journal of Human Genetics:

“Our analysis indicates this lineage diverged from previously known Y chromosomes about 300,000 ago, a time when anatomically modern humans had not yet evolved,” said Michael Hammer, an associate professor in the University of Arizona’s department of ecology and evolutionary biology and a research scientist at the UA’s Arizona Research Labs. “This pushes back the time the last common Y chromosome ancestor lived by almost 70 percent.”


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