Figure The Mitochondrial Dna Family Tree And Its Geographical Distribution

All men and women carry the same mitochondrial DNA, derived from a mitochondrial Eve. Like the Y chromosome, this single version of mitochondrial DNA has over time collected mutations which can be used to assign women to lineages (mitochondrial DNA is inherited only through the female line).

All women in sub-Saharan Africa belong to one of the first three branches of the mitochondrial DNA tree, known as L1, L2 and L3. All women outside Africa belong to M or N, the two daughter lineages of L3. Women in the western part of the Eurasian continent are all daughters of N; those of the eastern part descend from M or N. The daughter lineages A, B, C, D and X reached the Americas. But geneticists have figured out where in Africa this ancient homeland may have been located. The clues lie not just in genes but also in tongues, specifically the click languages of Africa and the San people who speak them.

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