The role of the Y chromosome in human evolutionary studies

Michael F. Hammer, Stephen L. Zegura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Analyses of molecular genetic data have added a new dimension to human evolutionary research. Pioneering studies of variation in human populations were based on analyses of blood groups and electromorphs, both of which represent qualitative multistate phenotypes. With the development of recombinant DNA methods in the 1970s and 1980s, the focus shifted from gene products to a new and plentiful source of human variability, restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs). Finally, the addition of DNA sequencing survey data to the rapidly growing RFLP data base made it feasible for the first time to determine the exact number of nucleotide substitutions between different alleles, as well as to construct gene trees and reconstruct the phylogenetic history of populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-134
Number of pages19
JournalEvolutionary Anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • Geographic dispersals
  • Modern human origins
  • Polymorphic markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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