Ancient African exodus mostly involved men, geneticists find

Dec 21, 2008

Modern humans left Africa over 60,000 years ago in a migration that many believe was responsible for nearly all of the human population that exist outside Africa today.

Now, researchers have revealed that men and women weren't equal partners in that exodus. By tracing variations in the X chromosome and in the non-sex chromosomes, the researchers found evidence that men probably outnumbered women in that migration.

The scientists expect that their method of comparing X chromosomes with the other non-gender specific chromosomes will be a powerful tool for future historical and anthropological studies, since it can illuminate differences in female and male populations that were inaccessible to previous methods.

While the researchers cannot say for sure why more men than women participated in the dispersion from Africa—or how natural selection might also contribute to these genetic patterns—the study's lead author, Alon Keinan, notes that these findings are "in line with what anthropologists have taught us about hunter-gatherer populations, in which short distance migration is primarily by women and long distance migration primarily by men."

Source: Harvard Medical School

Explore further: Blacklegged tick populations have expanded via migration, biologists show

Related Stories

Why human egg cells don't age well

Jul 01, 2015

When egg cells form with an incorrect number of chromosomes—a problem that increases with age—the result is usually a miscarriage or a genetic disease such as Down syndrome. Now, researchers at the RIKEN ...

How an RNA gene silences a whole chromosome

Apr 27, 2015

Researchers at Caltech have discovered how an abundant class of RNA genes, called long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs, pronounced link RNAs) can regulate key genes. By studying an important lncRNA, called Xist, ...

Scientists unveil sex-linked control of genes

Apr 03, 2015

Many proteins interact with an RNA molecule called Xist to coat and silence one X chromosome in every female cell. Learning how genes are targeted and silenced may help researchers studying sex-specific diseases.

Recommended for you

Investigators insert large DNA sequence into mammalian cells

9 hours ago

For the first time, researchers have used a simplified technique derived from a defense mechanism evolved by bacteria and other single-celled organisms to successfully insert a large DNA sequence into a predetermined genomic ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.