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Arabian flights: early Eurasians diverged in 150 years

Arabian flights: early Eurasians diverged in 150 years

New Scientist

Image: shabzillaa

Humanity’s dramatic race across the Old World after it left its African cradle has been told countless times. But for a true sense of the rapidity of events, look no further than the Y chromosome. The most comprehensive analysis of the Y yet shows that within 150 years, an evolutionary blink of an eye, the first migrants to make it into Eurasia split into three distinct groups that can still be identified today.

Men inherit their Y chromosome from their fathers. Like all other chromosomes, the Y mutates over time so the more distant the relationship between two men, the more genetically distinct their Y chromosomes. In 2000, biologists used this fact to construct a family tree of all men, which shows how human populations around the world are related.

But this tree was built using the information from a small samples of DNA on the Y chromosome, which revealed only around 100 sites of genetic variation that could help establish familial relations. Advances in gene technology mean it is now possible to build a more comprehensive tree based on information from the entire Y chromosome. Read more on…