The Seven Daughters of Eve

The Seven Daughters of Eve

Book - 2001
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WW Norton
The Double HelixThe Seven Daughters of EveThe Seven Daughters of Eve

Baker & Taylor
Drawing on years of study of genetics and DNA, a scientist describes how he linked the DNA found in the remains of a five-thousand-year-old man to modern-day relatives lviing in England and explains how all modern individuals can trace their genetic makeup back to prehistoric times to seven primeval women. 35,000 first printing.

Norton Pub
The Seven Daughters of Eve is a thrilling work of science that reveals how biological research can enrich our tangled lives. It is a book that chronicles many of the most exciting developments in genetics over the past decade by a man who is not only a brilliant scientist but also a gifted and thoroughly engaging writer. It ultimately demonstrates how much more we still have to discover about the absorbing story of human evolution.
One of the most dramatic stories of genetic discovery since James Watson's The Double Helix—a work whose scientific and cultural reverberations will be discussed for years to come. In 1994 Professor Bryan Sykes, a leading world authority on DNA and human evolution, was called in to examine the frozen remains of a man trapped in glacial ice in northern Italy. News of both the Ice Man's discovery and his age, which was put at over five thousand years, fascinated scientists and newspapers throughout the world. But what made Sykes's story particularly revelatory was his successful identification of a genetic descendant of the Ice Man, a woman living in Great Britain today. How was Sykes able to locate a living relative of a man who died thousands of years ago? In The Seven Daughters of Eve, he gives us a firsthand account of his research into a remarkable gene, which passes undiluted from generation to generation through the maternal line. After plotting thousands of DNA sequences from all over the world, Sykes found that they clustered around a handful of distinct groups. Among Europeans and North American Caucasians, there are, in fact, only seven. This conclusion was staggering: almost everyone of native European descent, wherever they may live throughout the world, can trace their ancestry back to one of seven women, the Seven Daughters of Eve. Naming them Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine, and Jasmine, Sykes has created portraits of their disparate worlds by mapping the migratory patterns followed by millions of their ancestors. In reading the stories of these seven women, we learn exactly how our origins can be traced, how and where our ancient genetic ancestors lived, and how we are each living proof of the almost indestructible strands of DNA, which have survived over so many thousands of years. Indeed, The Seven Daughters of Eve is filled with dramatic stories: from Sykes's identification, using DNA samples from two living relatives, of the remains of Tsar Nicholas and Tsaress Alexandra, to the Caribbean woman whose family had been sold into slavery centuries before and whose ancestry Sykes was able to trace back to the Eastern coast of central Africa. Ultimately, Sykes's investigation reveals that, as a race, what humans have in common is more deeply embedded than what separates us.

Book News
Much more than a metaphor, the seven daughters of Eve represent the seven women that Sykes, (genetics, Oxford U.) has identified as the maternal ancestors of 95% of all modern Europeans. He recounts his work with a particular mitochondrial gene, which passes down the maternal line undiluted, in reconstructing the genetic paths that ethnic groups have travelled from these seven original "clan mothers." The first half of his account discusses both the science and his investigations into genetics, explaining in a popular style how he traced the mitochondrial DNA back in time. The latter half consists of his fictional reconstructions of the lives of the seven women. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

A scientist describes how he linked the DNA found in the remains of a five-thousand-year-old man to modern-day relatives and explains how all modern individuals can trace their genetic makeup back to prehistoric times to seven primeval women.

Publisher: New York : Norton, c2001
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780393020182
Branch Call Number: 599.935 SY
Characteristics: x, 306 p. : ill., map ; 25 cm


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Oct 13, 2019

Sykes is a mixture here of personal anecdote and science. The anecdote--he landed via air on the South Sea Island of Raratonga, had a nice home made dinner with the mayor, then took a laid back lesson on getting a driving lesson on a motor cycle, got himself--and promptly ran into a palm tree, breaking his arm. The island's only clinic was nearby, fortunately. They couldn't do much for him except put it in a sling, as it would be much too uncomfortable to take off on a flight--next week. What was he to do in the weeks before his arm would heal? He had a long interesting conversation with the head of the clinic, also the mayor. The head of the clinic happened to have a frozen collection of blood specimens. The two men had a conversation about Sykes' projects on collecting DNA (anonymously) to see what could be learned about mitochondrial DNA . The two men created a permission form, and a form to use if the person no longer lived on Raratonga. There were only about 40 samples. Sykes' interest was in where the peoples of the South Pacific came from. Forty was enough to start with.

Nov 14, 2017

I loved this book - took a complex topic like genetics and broke it down into language all of us can connect with. Though there were a few terms and genetic details that caused me to have to look into it all a bit further, it's a great read about a very interesting topic. I am always on the search for books like this - topics beyond my expertise, written for my consumption!

Jun 04, 2015

Informative and neat.

Apr 07, 2013

The subject of DNA and our past sounds scientific and heavy but the author who did the science is also a great popular writer. He made the science reasonably understandable while using great anecdotes about the research work to make you feel you were at least a fly on the wall. And to read the conclusion that somewhere in the not too distant past there was one woman who was our mother. Who would have thought of that :-)

Jul 22, 2012

Fascinating account of the history of DNA tracking all the way back to the seven women every European is related to genetically. Bryan Sykes manages to write about seemingly dry and boring scientific details in a way that you think you are reading a thriller!


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Jun 04, 2015

Polynesians came from SE Asia, not from South America. Neolithic Farmers did not displace Europeans; for the most part, the ideas of the Agricultural Revolution spread
to the people already living in Europe and the native populations grew as a result.
About 17% of European mtDNA does come from Neolithic farmers who moved in.


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