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Challenging the origin of the Darwin finches


Media misrepresentation of the origin of the human species
Jan Klein Scientist
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We did some studies then in collaboration with Naoyuki Takahata in Japan, and Yoko Satta at Hayama in Japan in which we calculated what number of individuals would be needed and we came to the conclusion that the number would be at least 10,000 individuals, so not a single, not a few individuals from whom the human species arose, but at least 10,000 individuals, so a very sizeable population. So the founding population of the human species would be a large population, not a small population that everybody seemed to believe at that time. We then extended these studies... or before I go to this extension, perhaps I should say... and it would be an illustration what is happening in science to this day, people still refer and in the press and in the media particularly, they talk about mitochondrial Eve, they talk about Eve and they talk about daughters of Eve.  There have been books written by scientists about daughters of Eve and they all make the impression... the wrong impression that there was a tremendous reduction in the population size in the origin of the human species which led then to the rise of modern humans. This is all nonsense. This is simply not true and it's either deliberate or ignorant misunderstanding of how the hypothesis of diversification... emergence... the diversification of the different molecules in the human genome.

Born in 1936, Jan Klein is a Czech-American immunologist who co-founded the modern science of immunogenetics – key to understanding illness and disease. He is the author or co-author of over 560 scientific publications and of seven books including 'Where Do We Come From?' which examines the molecular evolution of humans. He graduated from the Charles University at Prague in 1955, and received his MS in Botany from the same school in 1958. From 1977 to his retirement in 2004, he was the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology at Tübingen, Germany.

Listeners: Colm O'hUigin

Colm O'hUigin is a senior staff scientist at the US National Cancer Institute. He received his BA, MSc and PhD at the Genetics Department of Trinity College, Dublin where he later returned as a lecturer. He has held appointments at the Center for Population and Demographic Genetics, UT Houston, and at the University of Cambridge. As an EMBO fellow, he moved in 1990 to the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen, Germany to work with Jan Klein and lead a research group studying the evolutionary origins of immune molecules, of teeth, trypanosomes and of species.

Tags: mitochondrial Eve, daughters of Eve, Naoyuki Takahata, Yoko Satta

Duration: 2 minutes, 32 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008