Primate dating techniques

Posted by / 22-Nov-2019 04:07

Primate dating techniques

First they compare the DNA sequences of two individuals or species, counting the neutral differences that don’t alter one’s chances of survival and reproduction.Then, knowing the rate of these changes, they can calculate the time needed to accumulate that many differences.Most result from mistakes when DNA copies itself during cell division, although other types of mutations occur spontaneously or from exposure to hazards like radiation and chemicals.In a single human genome, there are about 70 nucleotide changes per generation – minuscule in a genome made up of six billion letters.Analyzing DNA from present-day and ancient genomes provides a complementary approach for dating evolutionary events.

The case of Neanderthals illustrates how the mutation and recombination clocks can be used together to help us untangle complicated ancestral relationships.At that time, a population – the common ancestors of both human groups – separated geographically and genetically.Some individuals of the group migrated to Eurasia and over time evolved into Neanderthals.DNA holds the story of our ancestry – how we’re related to the familiar faces at family reunions as well as more ancient affairs: how we’re related to our closest nonhuman relatives, chimpanzees; how mated with Neanderthals; and how people migrated out of Africa, adapting to new environments and lifestyles along the way.And our DNA also holds clues about the timing of these key events in human evolution.

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By applying these methods to the ever-growing database of DNA from diverse populations (both present-day and ancient), geneticists are helping to build a more refined timeline of human evolution.

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