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J Theor Biol. 2009 Nov 21;261(2):238-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2009.08.006. Epub 2009 Aug 11.

Inbreeding, pedigree size, and the most recent common ancestor of humanity.

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Graduate Program in Genetics, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5222, USA.


How many generations ago did the common ancestor of all present-day individuals live, and how does inbreeding affect this estimate? The number of ancestors within family trees determines the timing of the most recent common ancestor of humanity. However, mating is often non-random and inbreeding is ubiquitous in natural populations. Rates of pedigree growth are found for multiple types of inbreeding. This data is then combined with models of global population structure to estimate biparental coalescence times. When pedigrees for regular systems of mating are constructed, the growth rates of inbred populations contain Fibonacci n-step constants. The timing of the most recent common ancestor depends on global population structure, the mean rate of pedigree growth, mean fitness, and current population size. Inbreeding reduces the number of ancestors in a pedigree, pushing back global common ancestry times. These results are consistent with the remarkable findings of previous studies: all humanity shares common ancestry in the recent past.

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