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The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens$
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T. J. Crow

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263112

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263112.001.0001

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What Can the Y Chromosome Tell Us about the Origin of Modern Humans?

What Can the Y Chromosome Tell Us about the Origin of Modern Humans?

(p.217) What Can the Y Chromosome Tell Us about the Origin of Modern Humans?
The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens

Chris Tyler-Smith

British Academy

This chapter outlines the peculiar genetic history and population characteristics of the Y chromosome, including the interaction with the X. The small size of the Y and its sex-limited transmission make it at first sight an unlikely vehicle for the determining characteristic of the species. Human and ape Y lineages are generally believed to have split about 5–7 million years ago, while extant human Y lineages trace back to a common ancestor that probably lived between 40 and 200 thousand years ago. Between these dates, two substantial segments of DNA on the Y chromosome were duplicated on the Y: the Yq pseudoautosomal region and the Xq/Yp homology region. The former does not contain any good candidate speciation genes but the latter may. The Xq-Yp transposition probably occurred soon after the ape-human split and, at the same time or subsequently, was divided in two by an inversion.

Keywords:   pseudoautosomal region, speciation genes, ape-human split, sex-limited transmission, human Y lineages

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