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DNA Mysteries: The Search For Adam

Where did we all come from? Could we all be descendants of Adam? And if he existed, who was he, where did he live and what did he look like? It is a mystery that intrigues us all and questions like these have been asked time and time again, but nobody has got close to the answer – until now. Spencer Wells, a leading geneticist and National Geographic explorer-in-residence, is setting out on a quest to discover if there was an "Adam" from whom all humans are descended. Wells uses the latest in DNA testing technology to take us on an extraordinary journey across the globe as he traces humanity’s family tree. As we travel through humanity’s genetic past we’ll encounter longstanding mysteries which today’s DNA tools can finally solve. They’ll yield new truths about historical figures like Genghis Kahn and Thomas Jefferson. The primary tool that helps this quest for one common ancestor is the Y-chromosome, which ties fathers to sons, passing down through family lines more or less unchanged. As Spencer Wells follows the Y-chromosomes backwards through the generations the branches of man’s family tree begin to coalesce into a single trunk, pointing to a single Adam. In Africa we finally end up at a point where all branches of humanity’s family tree coalesce into just one root. Wells theorizes that this must be Adam – a man who lived around 60,000 years ago. And, astonishingly, Wells believes, this man’s Y chromosome is shared by every man in the world. But now that we have found him, what did he look like and how did he live? This new program sets out to find the answers.

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