Men and women, like animals, are multi-cellular organisms: multi=many; cellular=having cells; organisms=things having life. Restated: “men and women are living things with many cells”.
The many cells of which all of us who live in Jersey are made all have a nucleus, a central core, and each of these many nuclei contains our own distinctive DNA. This “nuclear” DNA (the DNA in the core of each and every cell in our bodies) is passed on sexually. So we see children who are like their (biological) mums and dads – yet uniquely different.....
But DNA also exists outside the nucleus in each of our cells. This is known as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) because it exists in a mitochondrion. A mitochondrion is a space enclosed by a membrane within a cell but alongside, as it were, the nucleus.
The amazing thing about mtDNA is that, unlike DNA in the nucleus, it passes from mother to daughter only. However, it is DNA – and it does give rise, as it were, to the physical me (if I were a female).
Sadly, as a number of ladies in Jersey know only too well, mothers can pass on to their daughters mtDNA that contains a propensity towards certain diseases and illnesses. Whilst proteins (etc.) packaged with mtDNA can provide wonderful restorative capacity to such damaged mtDNA, such restoration is, sadly again, by no means a “given”.
Now for a startling thing for all women living in Jersey today.
The mtDNA of all women at present living in Jersey (and, in fact, of every woman on earth today) shows that they all have a single common ancestor – called by scientists the “mitochondrial Eve”.
In Jersey, therefore, Jersey-born Gwyneth Poch (living in Trinity) is a ‘sister’ to Surrey--born Patricia Bucan (living in Grouville) and both are ‘sisters’ to South-Africa-born Tina Hartmann (Trinity resident also).
How wonderful then to know that Jesus of Nazareth was prepared to walk a 100-mile detour to change completely the evil life that had possessed the daughter of a Syrian Phoenician woman in AD30 – both of whose mtDNA would, no doubt, have shown the same single common ancestor as that of all Jersey-resident women in 2009.
In bold above are a few sentences from a speech given in around AD 40 on Mars Hill in Athens by Paul, a learned 1st Century Christian. He discloses to the wise Athenians the identity of the “Unknown God” to whose worship they had erected a shrine. And he discloses that this God, this giver of life and breath and everything to all human beings, “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth.”
Ah, yes – but mtDNA only shows that all women have one ancestral mother. It doesn’t show that all men have one ancestral father........
That’s where the Y-chromosome comes in. The “Y-chromosome” is passed on by fathers to sons and in no other significant way. (A chromosome in a multi-cellular organism – like a man - comprises DNA + protein in an organised structure within his every cell.) Has a survey been done of Y-chromosomes to see if every man on earth at present had the same common ancestral father one far distant day in the past?
Yes, it has. And yes, all men now on earth can trace a common ancestry to a single man now called by scientists “Y-chromosomal Adam”.
And, therefore, I have many, many ‘brothers’ – in Jersey – to look after.