Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock

  title={Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock},
  author={Ann Gibbons},
  pages={28 - 29}
DNA studies of the remains of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II illustrate troubling questions in forensics and the dating of evolutionary events. The Tsar inherited two different sequences of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from their mother, a condition known as heteroplasmy that was previously considered rare but which new studies show may occur in at least 10% and probably 20% of all humans. This may mean that mtDNA mutates perhaps as much as 20-fold faster than expected, according to two… 

Molecular clocks: when times are a-changin'.

Genetic analysis of early holocene skeletal remains from Alaska and its implications for the settlement of the Americas.

This individual's mitochondrial DNA represents the founder haplotype of an additional subhaplogroup of haplogroup D that was brought to the Americas, demonstrating that widely held assumptions about the genetic composition of the earliest Americans are incorrect.

Prolonged decay of molecular rate estimates for metazoan mitochondrial DNA

The negative relationship between the estimated rate and time persisted across a much wider range of calibration times than previously suggested, indicating that, over long time frames, purifying selection gives way to mutational saturation as the main driver of time-dependent biases in rate estimates.

Genetics of Modern Human Origins and Diversity

  • J. Relethford
  • Biology
    The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology
  • 2018
Although the genetic data do provide support for the recent African origin model, they also are compatible with the multiregional model and neither model of modern human origins is unequivocally supported to the exclusion of the other.

Mitochondrial DNA and Forensic Analysis a Primer for Law Enforcement

This paper is intended as a brief introduction to mitochondrial DNA analysis and has been written to aid the police investigator, the judge, and the jury in the interpretation of casework.


This article explains fully how humans became what they are today, and leads to a paradigmatic shift in the way recent human evolution needs to be viewed.

Inherited Variability of the Mitochondrial Genome and Successful Aging in Humans

The results obtained by screening mtDNA haplogroups in about 800 Italians of different ages agree with the hypothesis that the inherited variability of the mitochondrial genome is associated with the chance of successful aging and longevity in humans.

African Eve: Hoax or Hypothesis?

In this critical analysis of the replacement hypothesis it is shown that it began as a hoax, later reinforced by false paleoanthropological claims and a series of flawed genetic propositions, yet it became almost universally accepted during the 1990s and has since dominated the discipline.

Why hunter-gatherer populations do not show signs of pleistocene demographic expansions.

  • L. ExcoffierS. Schneider
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1999
A multivariate analysis of the genetic distances among 61 populations reveals that populations that did not undergo demographic expansions show increased genetic distances from other populations, confirming that the demography of the populations strongly affects observed genetic affinities.