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Y oh Y

Last night I was asked, “Do you think you’re like your father?”

Without pause I answered, “Oh, absolutely.” I qualified that by adding I readily concede I am very much like my father, just as my sons will likely be very much like me. “However,” I added, “I am still much more like me then he.”

My interrogator smirked and replied, “Of course, no one is more like you—than you.” “All too true,” I remarked, both of us laughing over this understatement.

I discovered how true this is this morning. For not only is “like father like son, a truism, it is apparently a hard and fast genetic fact that recently has allowed scientists like Spencer Wells to trace DNA around the world, ultimately retracing part of the history of man’s evolution.

Featured in this months’ Discover magazine “The History of Men,” explains that only 5 percent of the Y chromosome’s DNA,” that single facet of the human formula that makes men men and women not (men), “ mingles with the X chromosome. “Thus, the y chromosome provides an unadulterated record of inheritance from father to son over generations.”

It follows that by focusing on sampling and analyzing Y chromosomes worldwide, geneticists are building a trail to how prolific progenitors like Genghis Kahn and Ramesses II, the Egyptian pharaoh, spread their seed around the world.

Explained further, Discover writes “Men inherit a Y chromosome from their father and an X chromosome from their mother; women inherit an X from each parent. As a result the Y passes on largely intact largely from father to son, and infinitum, each man adding at most a new mutation or two. The Y chromosome in every man on earth today is thought to be more than 99.99 percent the same as the one carried by a common ancestor who lived 50,000 or 60,000 years ago. The tiny differences are the markers that record the spread of the human species around the planet.”

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