mtDNA

The Woodstock of Evolution -- The World Summit on Evolution (ScientificAmerican.com): University of Cambridge professor Peter Forster, is an expert in archaeogenetics and states that prehistoric human migrations can be traced by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) through the maternal line of modern humans. These mtDNA samples are obtained by taking cheek swabs.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed down the maternal line because the oocyte contains mitochondria within the cytoplasm. Because spermatozoa contain almost no cytoplasm, and hence no mtDNA containing mitochondria, the Y chromosome is employed to trace lineages of human males.

See also, Fossil Hominids: mitochondrial DNA The Great DNA Hunt NOVA Online Neanderthals on Trial Tracing Ancestry with MtDNA Genetics and Genealogy: Y Polymorphism and mtDNA Analyses Genetics and Human Migration Patterns

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