A DNA test on a Scottish pensioner has revealed he is a direct descendent of the first ever woman who lived on Earth 190,000 years ago. Ian Kinnaird, 72, discovered he is effectively the ‘grandfather of everyone in Britain’ after he paid £200 to take the test to trace his ancestry.
Britain’s DNA, the research team who carried out the test, said the result means that Mr Kinnaird is ‘the grandson of Eve’ – the very first woman. The test results showed that Mr Kinnaird, a retired lecturer who lives in Halkirk near John O’Groats, has a genetic marker, L1B1, that can be followed back all the way to an ancient African lineage that has never before been found in Western Europe.
He has mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is passed through the female side is 30,000 years old and only two genetic mutations removed from the first ‘black Eve’. Most men, the researchers say, have genes that have incurred around 200 mutations from the earliest humans.
Mr Kinnaird also found that the YDNA marker on the male side of his genetic make-up is Scandinavian and he carries the same genes that is found in a quarter of all Norwegian men.
He said: ‘I have led an unremarkable life until now. ‘This is a real gobsmacker. I seem to carry a gene from West Africa that arrived through the slave trade.
‘I have been researching the links between the slave trade and Liverpool, the area where the female side of my family came from.
‘Africa was part of my geography degree at Hull University in 1959, but i couldn’t have imagined anything like this. The same L1B1 gene is also carried his 65-year-old sister, Jean.
Alistair Moffat, St Andrews University’s rector and historian, and James Wilson, a geneticist from Edinburgh University, were responsible for setting up the national study and uncovering the startling results of Mr Kinnaird.
Mr Moffat said: ‘It is an astonishing result and means he could have been in the ‘Garden of Eden’. ‘This lineage appears in Africa, in Senegal, but has never been seen in north-west Europe.
‘It is likely to have reached Britain through the arrival of slaves in Liverpool. ‘A woman who might be called Eve and a man who might be called Adam really existed.
‘Eve, the mother of us all, lived around 190,000 thousand years ago just as homo sapiens were evolving. Other women lived at the same time but only Eve’s mtDNA survived.
‘Adam also lived in central Africa, perhaps only around 140,000 years ago. Only his YDNA survived to father all of the male lineages on earth.
‘Mr Kinnaird cannot pass on his mtDNA but his sister could and she had a daughter who will carry the lineage.’ The aim behind Britain’s DNA is to try and make a ‘family tree of Britain’.