A 2-parts series exploring one the most important innovations in Genetics: the Molecular Clock, a novel way to interpret random genetic mutations in every living creature – and deduce from them it’s evolutionary past. The series explores the scientific & theoretical foundation of the Molecular Clock, as well as the implications it had on our understanding of our own collective – and personal – pasts.
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Part I – The Secrets of Mitochondrial DNA
The Molecular Clock technique was invented by Emile Zuckerkandl. Several decades later, Dr. Rebecca Cann, who examined samples of Mitochondrial DNA, made an amazing discovery: she confirmed the existence of a single Mitochondrial Eve, and solved a Paleoanthropological mystery: Earth was once home to many different Human Species – from Homo Erectus to the Neanderthals. Yet today, they are all gone. When and how did the other humanoids disappear? The answer is hidden, of all places, in out DNA.