Human evolution and the Y chromosome

R. John Mitchell, Michael F. Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The past two years have seen the increased study of Y-chromosome polymorphisms and their relationship to human evolution and variation. Low Y-chromosome sequence diversity indicates that the common ancestor of all extant Y chromosomes lived relatively recently and the consensus of estimates of time to the most recent common ancestor concur with estimates of the mitochondrial DNA ancestor; but we do not know where this 'Adam' lived. Though the reason for low nucleotide diversity on the Y-chromosome remains unresolved, some of the mutations are proving highly informative in tracing human prehistoric migrations and are generating new hypotheses on human colonizations and migrations. The recent discovery of highly polymorphic microsatellites on the Y offers new possibilities for the investigation of more recent human evolutionary events, including the identification of male founders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-742
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Genetics and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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