The mindless sprouting of new germ lines from old from then until now, means that at the deepest chemical level of analysis, all life from its beginnings until now, has been DNA's way of making more DNA.
The DNA that succeeds in traveling from the egg and sperm of one generation to the egg and sperm of the next is called the germ line of the species.
So if one wanted to seek souls in physical materials, then the germ line of our species--all the particular versions of DNA containing the instructions for the initial forms and behaviors of each of us and each of our children--would certainly be an interesting starting place.
Once that happens, each subpopulation's germ line is free to follow its own future of subsequent natural selection, and so we may say each has become the germ line of a new species.
The subsequent survival, change, or death of one new species' germ line need have no further effect for better or worse, on the survival, change, or death of the other new species.
A tree-living ancestral primate's DNA survives in our germ line through these traits, which we share with all the other primate species that shared this ancestor: gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, and chimps.
Let me put that into my own words: the germ line of last ancestor common to chimps, gorillas and humans disappeared tens of millions of years ago.
Evidence for this conclusion comes from the empirical generality that the vast majority of the heterogeneity in mtDNA genotypes is distributed among rather than within individuals [implying relative mtDNA population bottlenecks in germ lines (Chapman et al.
One possibility is that mtDNA molecules might occasionally undergo (nonmeiotic) recombination or gene conversion within the germ line, perhaps in such a way that damage-free mtDNA templates correct faulty ones.