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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When Was Adam, Eve's Mate, Born?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                 

                A  Double Helix; 2 spirals held together by pairs of nucleotides or base pairs.

DNA is the blueprint of life.  It spells out what we are to look like and how we are constructed.  We have 3 billion base pairs of DNA in the nucleus of our human cells.  They are grouped in 23 chromosome pairs.  One of each pair comes from our mother and the other from our father.  It is the 23rd pair that decides our sex.  Each chromosome has genes.  You can get a gene for brown eyes from your father an a gene for blue eyes from your mother.  The dominant gene wins.  Brown is dominant.

It was only in 1981 that Mitochondria DNA carried by Eve  was sequenced, creating the Cambridge Reference Sequence or CRS.  Since then it has been revised and that is used as a master template to compare all other mtDNA profiles.  Scientists say that a mutation in the genes happens on the average every 5,138 years.  A mutation happens in the control region on the average every 20,180 years.  A higher mutation rate of the coding region gives us more detailed analysis of maternal images.  Bryan Sykes in his book "The Seven Daughter of Eve," shows us that 98% of all people of Western Europe come from only 7 women who lived in the Europe within the last 50,000 years. Since then a few more have been found.   They came from a common clan mother, Mitochondrial Eve, who lived in Africa about 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.  Not much was known about Adam and his Ydna and when he lived, however.  Now we can concur that almost every man alive today can trace his origins to one man who lived about 135,000 years ago, about the same time as Eve.

Paleo-DNA is found in the remains of ancient people and animals.  This is much harder because of the challenge of analyzing pieces that belong to the species studied.  They have to compare all the fragments in a found mixture or soup to the species' genome.  The size of the scraps is usually very small so mitochondrial DNA gives a much high probability of success.  Cave bear bones were an example used which can survive about 100,000 years.  Dinosaur DNA would have to survive at least 65 million years.

It is thought that Mitochondrial Eve lived about 150,000 years ago.  Up till now, it was thought that Adam lived between 60,000 and 90,000 years ago, for that's as far back as the yesterday  scientists could figure with their calculations.    They study SNPs, which are single nucleotide polymorphisms, a very slowly mutating location that is used to define haplogroups, and could only go back that far with the Ydna.

Now, several different groups of scientists have worked on the calculations of Adam and have come up with very different results.  First, a species similar to humans migrated out of Africa into Europe around 400,000 years ago and was isolated from its homies for the next 320,000 years.  It evolved so that it could live in  a colder climate.   The descendants of this original ancestral population went  into Europe around 80,000 years ago.  The skeletons from both groups show no signs of blended characteristics.  Our scientists thought they were 2 different species.  Now genetic analysis tell us that members of these 2 species interbred and produced children that populated Europe and spread eastward as far as China and Papua New Guinea.  They simply were two sibling subspecies of the original African species.

 So Homo neanaderthalensis is in reality a Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, a subspecies of Homo sapiens.  This is a modified Out of Africa theory which says that about 400,000 years ago a population of hominids went north through the Middle East and into Europe and parts of western Asia.  Between 80,000 and 50,000 years ago, another population from the ancestral continent of Africa went along a similar route to the Eurasian landmass and the 2 populations met and mated.  We are their descendants.  Europeans carry a certain amount of Neandertal genes.  For instance, I carry 2.9% of Neandertal genes.

Dr. Eran Elhaik is one scientist who has been working on the age of Adam and has come up with a closer date to Eve than other scientists such as Mendez and his colleagues.  Mendez came up with the most recent common ancestor or TMRCA  for the Y tree to be 338,000 years ago and is over 100,000 years older than the earliest fossils of anatomically modern humans.  Dr. Elhaik concludes that Mendez ignored previously inferred Y-specific rates of substitution and incorrectly derived the Y-specific substitution rate from autosomal mutation rates.  Then he compared unequal lengths of the novel Y chromosome with the previously recognized basal lineage.  Ehaik's analysis indicates that the lineage Mendez used came from all the other lineages 163,900 to 260,200 years ago.  In other words, they did not use the same mathematical formulas and of course came up with different conclusions.

This had all come about when a descendent of Albert Perry, an African American from South Carolina was tested for his DNA at Family Tree DNA in Texas.  Albert Perry lived  in the year about 1819 to  1827 and was identified as having a different Y haplotype than all others found so far.  It was named A00.  A previously oldest lineage was called A0. The "A" stands for Africa.  The greatest genetic diversity is in Africa.  SNPs that occur in Africa are the most widely shared by populations in other parts of the world.  Most researchers agree with the single origin theory or Out of Africa theory which says that all modern humans evolved in Africa and then emigrated in several waves over the last 100,000 years, finally replacing earlier homo species.  Haplogroups A and B exist only in Africa today and are the oldest haplogroups.  Today B is found mostly in the pygmy tribes.   This new haplotype find was very exciting.  The age of this Adam was estimated from the mutations within the Y-chromosome genome based on known mutation rates and was found to be in excess of the estimated age of the current Mitochondrial Eve and the oldest known fossils of anatomically modern humans  and was called the Adam haplotype.

 "Mendez said  that the most recent common ancestor for the YDNA  originated 33,800 years ago with a 95% confidence interval of 237 000-581 000 years ago was more than double the oldest previous estimate of 141 500  +. - 15 600 years ago.  Other estimates had ranged from 46 000 to 160 000 years ago.  It predated the most ancient mitochondrial DNA which was only slightly younger than the Y chromosome mtDNA  This estimate of having the most recent common ancestor is 142 000 years older than the oldest known anatomically modern human who is estimated to be 196 00 +- 2000 years old.  It was thought that either this Y chromosome is from a different species or that the ancestral population of anatomically modern Homo sapiens became subdivided into genetically differentiated subpopulations much earlier than previously known."

Man has gone from the "iconic gorilla to human."  Our evolution contains large gaps between the chimpanzee and ardipithecus ramidus of 4.3-4.4 million years ago.  In the past million years, several lineages including Homo erectus (java man of 0.6 to 0.2 million years ago, Homo heidelbergensis (Heidelberg Man) of 735 to 230 kya, Homo rhodesiensis of 400 to 110 Kya, and Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal) of 400 to 30 kya, coexisted and interbred with each other leading to the appearance of the first Adam or AMH about 100 to 200 kya.

Two reports came out in August 2013 and suggested much younger ages and suggested that both  Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve could have lived at the same time.  A scientist from the Universita di Sassari, an Italian geneticist, reported the sequencing of male-specific single-nucleotide Y-chromosome polymorphisms from the year 1204, Sardinian men,  indicated an estimate of 180,000 to 200,000 years for the common origin of all  humans through paternal lineage or Ydna.  Another study from Standford U of 69 men from 9 different populations lived between 120,000 and 156,000 years ago.  They also estimated the age of Eve to be about 99,000 to 148,,000 years.  The discovery of Haplogroup A00 puts the Adam further back in time with Mendez and group.  Elhaik says that Mendez and group have inflated the most recent common ancestor estimate for a date by the wrong assumptions, approximations, numerical miscalculations and data manipulation that inflated the estimate.

In 2011, Cruciani suggested that Adam lived abut 142,000 years ago, earlier than the 59,000 years ago estimate by Thomson and group in 2000.  The reason for being able to go back farther was due to finding more mutations and the rearrangement of the backbone of the y-chromosome phylogeny after resequencing Haplogroup A lineages.  Finding the right date depends on the accuracy of the mutation rate used.  According to Cruciani and group, the much older date is easier to reconcile with models of human origins.

Does all this co-exist with what our religious beliefs tell us?  "Geneticists believe that we humans can trace their male ancestors back to a single man and their female ancestry back to a single woman.  Now these 2 new studies suggest that Eve lived at roughly the same time as Adam.  Scientists had to use circular reasoning to come to this conclusion.  Thank goodness because it takes 2 to tango, and man has proved to be the most sexual of all the primates.  They are able to do it just about anywhere, anytime, with anyone and even with other species if you can believe the Kinsey reports."  One young teen-ager bragged that he did it with a chicken, and many lonely sheepherders have been known to do it with sheep.  So interbreeding with a species slightly different that Homo Sapiens is not unlikely.  The Oregonian newspaper announced on the front page in May of last year that the first modern humans appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago.

According to the Hebrew Calendar, this is the year 5774.  Was Adam and Eve created 5,774 years ago?  We know prototypes were existing.  Perhaps the rabbis would say that this was when conscience entered their minds or a soul  as we know entered then, especially after they ate the apple from the tree of knowledge.   Time could have been a little different in the beginning.  After all, up to now the recent discoveries had been that females originated 100,000 to 200,000 years ago but males only came along about 50,000 years ago.  What had happened to the male for Eve and her daughters?  It is good that Elhaik and his group have brought Adam and Eve together scientifically  in just about the same era now with their newer findings.

In the article "Does "Y-chromosome Adam" Refute Genesis? by Nathaniel T. Jeanson, Ph.D, he also reminds us of the Flood of Noah with a possible accelerated radiometric decay that could have affected the rates of DNA change.  In the 4,000 years of earth's history since the flood, who should we assume that the environment has been constant and doing nothing to alter the speed with which DNA mistakes can occur?   He points out that scientists rely on unreliable radiometric dating techniques, as Elhaik accuses Mendez of, and are not independent validations of the molecular data.   He feels they dates reflect another set of unjustified evolutionary assumptions.  

Eve was most important because Mitochondrial DNA is inherited  exclusively along the female line.  Males and females inherit mtDNA, but only females pass it to their children.  Once, it is widely believed, it was independent bacteria that colonized the ancestors of modern day membrane-bound cells.  It comes with its own DNA.  When a man is tested, both the Y and mt haplogroups can be identified in him, but the same is not true of a woman.  Scientists are still not ready to say what her father's Ydna haplogroup was.

Adam was the first man.   Lamech was the son of Methuselah and the father of Noah. He was the ninth of the ten patriarchs of the antedeluvian world. "Methuselah  is said  to be the oldest person to ever live. Extra-biblical tradition maintains that he died on the 11th of Cheshvan of the year 1656 (Anno Mundi, after Creation), at the age of 969, seven days before the beginning of the Great Flood. Methuselah was the son of Enoch and the grandfather of Noah.  Evidently the world had no harmful bacteria or viruses and mankind was created to last a long time, but even Methuselah beat all others in living a long life.  I doubt if any geneticists took this into consideration with their math formulas.  Also, our universe is expanding. We supposedly are moving away from our origins.  This must affect time.  

  Up until now,  Noah lived to be 950 years old.  G-d wasn't very happy with mankind as they had turned out at this point and had decided to do away with all except Noah and his family.  All died in the flood according to the story except Noah, his wife and his 3 sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.  The first 70 people came from them who restarted humanity again.  A similar story to the Genesis version is found in the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic with Utnapishtim being the hero like Noah. 

 Moses came along in the year about  1391 BCE and died 1271 BCE, living till he was 120 years old. As we see, the time span for humans was getting shorter.  

European Journal of Human Genetics (2013)
DNA & Genealogy by Colleen Fitzpatrick &I Andrew Yeiser, copyright 2005.  pages 14,15, 150
Scientific American Magazine Augustr 2010, Our Neandertal Brethren, genome sequencing has revealed our common humanity by Michael Shermer.
  5/12/13/Oregonian front page: on Dr. Eran Elhaik with John Hopkins U. 
Update: 1/22/14:   9:25pm, of December 2013, entire genome of Neanderthal Man 130,000 year old in Siberian cave

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