MAR 27, 2015 10:25 AM PDT

The father of us all lived about 239,000 years ago

Depiction of the Stone Age by Viktor VasnetsovAt least, that's what researchers have concluded after sequencing the genomes of 2,636 Icelanders.

A recent article by Arielle Duhaime-Ross in Verge discusses this and other findings of the huge Icelandic study, which was partly funded by the biopharmaceutical company deCode.

The estimate that our common male ancestor lived about 239,000 years ago contradicts past findings. A 2013 study from the University of Arizona estimated that the age of the father of all humans is about 340,000 years. But the 239,000 number makes more sense when you consider that humanity's most common female ancestor is estimated to have lived about 200,000 years ago.

The set of 2,636 whole-genome sequences used in the study is the largest ever obtained from a single population. Based on the sequencing data, the researchers were able to identify that genetic mutations play a role in everything from Alzheimer's disease to liver disease.

The age of the human species is significant because it is related to how diverse humans are, because the older a species is, the more time it has to develop mutations that differentiate individuals and populations from one another.

Results of the common ancestor study were published in the 25 March 2015 online edition of Nature Genetics.
About the Author
You May Also Like
OCT 20, 2019
Immunology
OCT 20, 2019
Making Opioids Safer
The opioid crisis results in 130 American deaths every day, and both prescribed and synthetic opioids are at the core of the epidemic.  Any other drug...
OCT 20, 2019
Microbiology
OCT 20, 2019
Parasitic Worm Capable of Infecting People Now Found in Dogs
There are some small roundworms, also called nematodes, in the genus Strongyloides that can infect animals. Two species can infect people....
OCT 20, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 20, 2019
Rearranging Whole Chromosomes with CRISPR
CRISPR/Cas9 was developed as a gene-editing tool and now it's going beyond small, targeted changes in the genome....
OCT 20, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 20, 2019
Remarkable Results From First Gene Therapy for Glycogen Storage Disease
A one-year clinical trial of a new gene therapy has produced surprisingly good results for several patients....
OCT 20, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 20, 2019
How Liquid Biopsies Can Teach Us About Cancer Drug Resistance
Cancer patients often endure challenging treatment courses to shrink their tumors, but the tumors can make a powerful comeback....
OCT 20, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 20, 2019
Genetic Link to SIDS is Revealed
Around 3,500 American babies die of sudden unexpected infant death every year....
Loading Comments...