Steve Jones's email in response to my query about human ancestery. The statement about the 3000yr "clearly this is speculative" is specially bad, because in the book it is introduced as "a simple and unaviodable conclusion" (In the Blood, 1996 ( Hardback), p.42, third paragraph, fifth line).

From: 	Steve Jones 
To: 	Yehouda Harpaz 
Subject: 	Re: "genetic legacy"
Date: 	Mon, 15 Dec 2003 15:02:35 +0000
Well, this is a fairly stringent reading of what I wrote. On re-reading the
paragraph it seems clear to me that I mean that (of course) many women left
no mitochondrial legacy and many men no Y chromosome legacy: in fact most
of the page is devoted to explaining this in detail and the sentence you
quote is a brief summary of the fact at the end. Certainly, many of their
other genes survive (although if you go back far enough you can trace a
last common male, and female, ancestor for all genes). However, I wrote
this so I am a biased source; if you misinterpreted it clearly I should
have written more clearly. There is incidentally a lot more on the Y
chromosome story in my recent book "Y- The Descent of Men".

On the 3000yr figure; clearly this is speculative, and there may be a few
groups (and I think I mention this) that have no contact with the rest of
the world population; but if there has been any mating between new world
populations and old world ones (and of course since 1492 there has been
lots) this will draw them onto the universal pedigree with rather little


steve j

At 14:40 15/12/2003 +0000, you wrote:
>Dear Steve Jones,
>I have just read your book "In the blood."
>on p. 94 (hardback edition), in "Sex and Taxes", you
>write as if women that did not left mitochondria in living
>human or males that did not leave Y chromosomes don't
>have living descendents today. On females that their lineage
>didn't survive (actual sentence is "their[the women that left
> mitochondria] lineage survived while those of their fellows
>did not."). On males you say "the genetic legacy of the others
>has disappeared".
>This is clearly wrong, because both the mitochondria and the
>Y chromosome are not linked to the rest of the genome. Thus
>other females and males still have "genetic legacy" or lineage
>today, but only through the lines that switched sex at least once
>(which are the vast majority of lines).
>I was specially surprised to see this mistake because earlier, on p.42,
>you say that we are all descendent from the people that lived 3000
>years ago and descendents until today. While I think it is clearly true
>that this is case for some date not far in the past, 3000 years looks
>far too short, even if you ignore the American population of the time.
>Is there any evidence that we are descendents of all those who left
>descendents 300 years ago in the "old world"?
>Yehouda Harpaz