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Mitochondrial Eve

DNA support for the Biblical account of Adam and Eve


The Bible clearly states that all mankind is descended from one man and woman; Adam and Eve. In recent years genetic studies have shown this to be the case. One interesting outcome of these studies is support for the fact that our most recent female ancestor ( Eve ) is actually older than our most recent common male ancestor. ( Noah ) Of the two lines of study the one pointing to Eve is the most interesting. Not only does it provide compelling evidence for Biblical history, it also stands as an example, of how evolutionary interpretation actually obscures evidence in support of the Biblical account, and the lengths  evolutionists will go to dismiss such evidence.

 I. Back Ground

 In 1987, a team at the University of California at Berkeley compared the mitochondrial DNA ( mtDNA ) of several groups of people from different geographic locations. They concluded that all of these people had the same female ancestor and called her "Mitochondrial Eve." They then proceeded to calculate the mutations rate based on such evolutionary assumptions as the time of our alleged divergence from a supposed common ancestor with chimps. They concluded based on this estimated mutation rate that Mitochondrial Eve lived 100,000 - 200,000 years ago In 1997 a paper entitled A High Observed Substitution Rate in the Human Mitochondrial DNA Contro Region by Parsons, Thomas J., et al. was published in Nature Genetics. They compared the mtDNA of many mother child pairs and found that mutations in mtDNA occur about 20 times more rapidly than previously thought. Based on these measurements they calculated Mitochondrial Eve lived only about 6,500 years ago.

II. Discussion

When I first read about the 1997 study, I was intrigued by the fact that the new date fit the Biblical account so well, but the story has proven more interesting than I ever imagined. Several months later I got into an email discussion about mitochondrial eve, with an evolutionist. He was insistent that only the 100,000- 200,000 year date was valid. I also noticed that the 6,500 year date was largely ignored by evolutionist web sites.

The evolutionist I was having the discussion with claimed that the 6,500 year date was invalid because the Berkeley team had used substitution rates, while Parsons’ study had measured mutation rates. I was also informed that Parsons could not have measured substitution rates, because substitutions take many generations for Natural Selection to select the genes to become fixed in the genome. It turns out that this was the key unraveling the plot. I soon began to realize that the whole substitution vs. mutation issue was just an evolutionist word game, being used to excuse the dismissal of the 6,500 year date.

III. The Real Story

What this all boils down to is that real empirical data is supposed to give way to evolutionary estimates, solely because the empirical data goes contrary to evolution. The fact is that when you stripped away all the evolutionary terminology and assumptions you get:

  1. The Berkeley team measured differences in human mitochondria DNA.

  2. Parsons' and similar studies measured the rate of change in human mitochondria DNA.

When these two sets of empirical data are put together, they yield a date for Mitochondrial Eve of about 6500  years. This is about the time the Bible gives for when the real Eve lived. Further research has been done in this area and they are quite interesting. Parsons later combined his research with others (Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock) resulting in a figure of  1 motion per 1,200 years which is 1/10 the evolutionary estimate and 1.5 time Parsons original figure for a estimated date of mitochondrial Eve of 10,000 years which is still in the general ballpark of the Biblical account. The only real reason these figures are rejected is because it agrees with the Bible, while being contrary to evolution. Now it is possible that mitochondrial eve is not actually Eve herself but one of her female descendants. She would be the last common ancestor of Noah's three sons’ wives. Eve could have been the last common ancestor of these three woman but that ancestor could have been one of Eve's pre Flood female descendants. Also the difference between the Biblical approximate figure of 10,000 years would only require a slightly elevated mutation rate at some time in the past.

IV A New Study

The following paper was presented to me by an evolutionist as more accurate because it used a new method: Max Ingman et al, Nature 408, 708 - 713, Mitochondrial genome variation and the origin of modern humans (published in 2000)

Note the following quote:

From the mean genetic distance between all the humans and the one chimpanzee sequence (0.17 substitutions per site) and the assumption, based on palaeontological and genetic evidence, of a divergence time between humans and chimpanzees of 5 Myr, the mutation rate ( ) for the mitochondrial molecule, excluding the D-loop, is estimated to be 1.70 10 -8 substitutions per site per year.

Note that they are still calculating the rates based on the assumption that we have a common ancestor with chimps. This is a new method? It's nothing but a reworking of the same method used at Berkeley. The fact is that they are still assuming evolution, to get the old dates. We still have the cases where it is known that they actually measured the rate of change in human mitochondria DNA, It resulted in a date of 6,500 – 10,000 years. This is proving to be an excellent case study in how evolutionists assume microbe to man evolution in calculating dates while ignoring dates that are contrary to it.


Mitochondrial DNA Mutation Rates

The Mitochondrial Clock: The story of Mitochondrial Eve.


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