The origin of modern human ethnic groups is still a topic of contention between scientists and religious scholars. An analysis of genetic data from different studies has demonstrated that the biblical model of human origins, and not the evolutionary "out-of-Africa" model, explains the diversity of human deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) today.
The study, titled "On the Origin of Human Mitochondrial DNA Differences, New Generation Time Data Both Suggest a Unified Young-Earth Creation Model and Challenge the Evolutionary Out-of-Africa Model" was published last April 27, in the Answers Research Journal.
The Answers Research Journal is sponsored by Answers in Genesis, a non-profit, fundamentalist, Christian apologetics ministry. In addition, Answers in Genesis focuses on advocating Young Earth Creationism (YEC), a religious belief that the whole Universe and Life on Earth was created by direct acts of God.
Currently there are two models that explain the origin of diverse modern human ethnic groups. First is the evolutionary "out-of-Africa" model, in which humans in Africa are said to have evolved first around 200,000 years ago and a small subpopulation migrated out of the continent thousands of years later giving rise to the different ethnic groups we now see today. This is evident in the relatively higher levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diversity present in African ethnic groups.
On the other hand, the YEC model, the dawn of human ethnic groups was after the biblical Tower of Babel dispersion, which supposedly occurred 4,000 years ago.
Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, a cell and developmental biologist from Harvard University, tried to determine which of these models holds more truth by analyzing marriage data, which was collected 40 years ago by the United Nations, and mitochondrial DNA sequencing data from the Human Mitochondrial Genome Database.
Jeanson discovered that African women married earlier than non-African women. He indicated that the practice of African ethnic groups to marry earlier may contribute to shorter generation times, which would result to a much higher diversity of mitochondrial DNA. He also tried to predict the rate of mitochondrial DNA diversity using the YEC model and revealed that the model accurately predicts the extent of genetic diversity.
"In short, the evolutionary model predicted a minimum number of differences nearly six times higher than the maximum number of mtDNA differences present today," he wrote in the article. "By contrast, the YEC model exactly captured the full spectrum of mtDNA differences observable today. These results demonstrated the scientific robustness of the YEC model and intensified the explanatory challenge for the evolutionary timescale."