London: Scientists claim to have finally unlocked the genetic history of Charles Darwin, by using DNA from the famous English naturalist's great-great grandson.
The mapping of Darwin's ancestry has revealed that the father of evolutionary theory -- that all humans are descended from one common ancestor -- actually comes from a long line of adventurers, his forbears being some of first modern humans to leave Africa for Middle East, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.
Because genetic information is passed from father to son via Y chromosome, tests on Darwin's great-great grandson's DNA, collected from a swab of his saliva, showed his ancestors were among the first wave of modern humans to leave Africa for the Middle East about 45,000 years ago.
From there, they travelled into Europe, surviving the Ice Age by migrating south to Spain, before moving north to England about 12,000 years ago.
The tests revealed that Darwin belonged to the Haplogroup R1b, direct descendants of the Cro-Magnon people who dominated the human expansion into Europe and heralded the
demise of the Neanderthals.
First Published: Friday, February 05, 2010, 13:25