Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Cann, Rebecca L.

US molecular biologist at Hawaii; with mentor and later Berkeley colleague A. C. Wilson, Cann calibrated a molecular clock using mitochondrial DNA. They obtained samples representing humans from most of the regions of the world and compared DNA sequences from a specific region of mtDNA; the degree of variation was so small that their conclusion was that all AMHs shared a common ancestor less than 200 kya, who was dubbed mitochondrial Eve. As the deepest clades appeared to be in Africa, this soon became known as the mitochondrial Eve hypothesis. The Cann, Stoneking and Wilson paper, Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution, Nature 325: 31 (1987), is one of the most frequently cited in recent decades.

Cf. the multiregional continuity model.

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