DNA USA : A Genetic Portrait of America

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Bryan Sykes, one of the world's leading geneticists and best-selling author of The Seven Daughters of Eve, sets his sights on America, one of the most genetically variegated countries in the world. Sykes embarks on a road trip-DNA testing kit in tow-interviewing genealogists, anthropologists, and everyday Americans, tracing America's history along a double helix that stretches from the last Ice Age to the present day. What emerges is an unprecedented look into America's genetic mosaic that challenges the very notion of how we perceive race and what it means to be an American.

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  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 142.24 x 226.06 x 30.48mm | 430.91g
  • WW Norton & Co
  • Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • New YorkUnited States
  • English
  • 8 pages of color; 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations
  • 0871403587
  • 9780871403582
  • 725,720

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"It may seem odd for the author of a book on human genetics and heredity to thank his travel agent in the acknowledgments, but in the case of this hybrid work of science and cross-country reportage it's a fitting gesture... Sykes writes lucidly, creating his own unique mixture in a book that might be described as Travels With Charley meets The Double Helix." -- Abigail Meisel "As the author of The Seven Daughters of Eve and other books, Sykes is an old hand at writing about genetics for the general public. His experience shows as he deftly introduces highly technical information in reader-friendly ways... During his journey, Sykes encounters people who embrace DNA testing as a way to clear up messy genealogical records. He also meets skeptics, who see the technology as a way to discredit their cultural heritage. Sykes doesn't shy away from these criticisms, presenting a well-balanced view of the disparate attitudes." -- Tina Hesman Saey "An authority on ancient DNA analysis, Sykes provides a nontechnical introduction to how Y chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA may be used to reveal ancestral heritage. Combining in-depth interviews with volunteers along with these genetic techniques, he attempts to create a biological portrait of the United States. ... These DNA portraits illustrate the complexity of human inheritance and how difficult it is to assign individuals to distinct groups." "Starred review. Sykes combines history, science, travel and memoir in one grand exposition of what it means to be an 'American.'" "Starred review. Human genetics energetically elucidated, entertaining travel writing, the fascinating personal stories of DNA volunteers, and Sykes' candid musings on his awakening to the complex emotional and social implications of hidden biological inheritances make for a milestone book guaranteed to ignite spirited discussion." -- Donna Seaman

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About Bryan Sykes

Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University, pioneered the use of DNA in exploring the human past. He is also the founder and chairman of Oxford Ancestors (oxfordancestors.com), which helps individuals explore their genetic roots using DNA. He is the author of Saxons, Vikings, and Celts; The Seven Daughters of Eve, a New York Times bestseller; and Adam's Curse.

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Reviews from Goodreads.com