mitochondria descends through the mother and does not undergo the shuffling
associated with the pairing of parental DNA. It therefore has a slow and even
mutation rate, and is used to date species divergence. Recent mitochondrial
evidence also tends to confirm the theory that humans had a single origin in
Africa. For a readable but detailed account of the geographical emergence of H.Sapiens (one which questions the
implicit racism of earlier accounts) see Stringer, CB, and McKie, R, African Exodus: The Origins of Modern
Humanity (London: Cape, 1996).
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