DNA study supports African origin of man
Published Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:13PM EST
WASHINGTON - A new genetic analysis of people from around the world adds further confirmation to the African origin of humans.
The study of genetic details from 938 individuals from 51 populations provides evidence of how people are related and different, researchers led by Richard M. Myers of Stanford University report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.
The team looked at variations in 650,000 sections of each of the DNA samples, providing a view of the similarities and differences between people in greater detail than had been available previously.
Scientists have long believed that modern humans first developed in Africa and spread from there to populate the rest of the world, a theory strongly supported by the new analysis, the researchers said.
In addition, they noted that residents of the Middle East can trace their ancestry to both Africa and Europe, which they said is logical since the region formed a bridge for movement back and forth between the areas.
Also, they noted, they found a close a relationship between the Yakut population of Siberia and native Americans, who are believed to have migrated from Siberia via a land bridge at a time of lower sea levels.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.