The Golden Thread

The concept of the Golden Thread, which is central to the Oxford philosophy, is that each of us is connected to a matrilineal ancestor by an imaginary thread. Ultimately when the threads are followed back through time they coalesce to a single woman, often referred to as Mitochondrial Eve. She is the matriarch of all humanity, the ancestor of everyone alive today and everyone whoever lived. She is both a spiritual concept and a real woman. We think she lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago. By studying the mutations that have occurred in her matrilineal descendants we can estimate a great deal about how her ancestors have spread throughout the world. ​

  • A GoldenThread connects us all through our mothers.

We are all connected by a Golden Thread which follows our matrilineal genealogy and is conveniently traced for us by mitochondrial DNA. Conceptually, this is the very same as the genealogy traced by the real physical connection of the life-giving umbilical cord and the immensely strong emotional ties of love and nurture that bind mothers to their children. Mitochondrial DNA gives us the ability to use the oxygen in the air we breathe, so this too follows the same pathway connecting every one of us to our ancestors with every breath we take.