[bksvol-discuss] OT: our genetic ancestry

  • From: Carrie Karnos <ckarnos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Bookshare Vol Group <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2007 19:44:56 -0700 (PDT)

Hi gang,
  I just uploaded a book called The Seven Daughters of Eve (no relation to Eve 
of Adam & Eve fame).  The book is about our ancestors from tens of thousands of 
years ago.  Somewhere around 70,000 to 100,000 years ago, there was a woman who 
the author names Mitochondrial Eve. She had daughters, who had daughters, and 
so on and so forth.  Up until about 10 years ago, there was no way to trace our 
maternal lineage.  The paternal lineage was very easy to trace, by looking at 
the Y-chromosome, which is passed from father to son with no changes (since 
women have no Y-chromosomes).  Someone figured out that the mitochondria in our 
cells has a bit of DNA in it, which is passed from the mother to all of her 
children, male or female.  So now we have a way to trace the maternal lineage. 
(If you're bored by this, feel free to stop at any time.)
  The author, a geneticist at Oxford, checked thousands of Europeans and 
figured out that 95% of all Europeans can be traced to 1 of 7 women, amazingly 
enough.  And if you send him a bit of your DNA, he'll tell you which one you're 
descended from.  (I'm descended from Tara, who lived in Tuscany 17,000 years 
ago.)  This is just fascinating to me, but I realize that not everyone is taken 
by this.  If it's fascinating to you, I would recommend reading the book.  It's 
quite interesting!

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