Sequencing Y chromosomes resolves discrepancy in time to common ancestor of males versus females.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1126/science.1237619
The Y chromosome and the mitochondrial genome have been used to estimate when the common patrilineal and matrilineal ancestors of humans lived. We sequenced the genomes of 69 males from nine populations, including two in which we find basal branches of the Y-chromosome tree. We identify ancient phylogenetic structure within African haplogroups and resolve a long-standing ambiguity deep within the tree. Applying equivalent methodologies to the Y chromosome and the mitochondrial genome, we estimate the time to the most recent common ancestor (T(MRCA)) of the Y chromosome to be 120 to 156 thousand years and the mitochondrial genome T(MRCA) to be 99 to 148 thousand years. Our findings suggest that, contrary to previous claims, male lineages do not coalesce significantly more recently than female lineages.