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The Myth of Eve: Molecular Biology and Human Origins: F. J. Ayala


It has been proposed that modern humans descended from a single woman, the "mitochondrial Eve" who lived in Africa 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. The human immune system DRB1 genes are extremely polymorphic, with gene lineages that coalesce into an ancestor who lived around 60 million years ago, a time before the divergence of the apes from the Old World monkeys. The theory of gene coalescence suggests that, throughout the last 60 million years, human ancestral populations had an effective size of 100,000 individuals or greater. Molecular evolution data favor the African origin of modern humans, but the weight of the evidence is against a population bottleneck before their emergence. The mitochondrial Eve hypothesis emanates from a confusion between gene genealogies and individual genealogies.

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