17 March, 2014

The seven daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes [Stanley, Collections South]

In the beginning there was Mitochondrial Eve, the mother of all modern humans. This is the story of her children. Seven women that lived from 15-45,000 years ago, which all people of European descent can be traced back to (I might have simplified things lots, but you get the picture). 

In this book, world-renowned geneticist Bryan Sykes gives us a fascinating glimpse back at our human origins, and the mystery of DNA. Some of you may be hooked, and read every paragraph until the end.  Others, like me, will scan some of the areas just to get to the main thesis more quickly. The earlier sections deal with the first incarnations of the theory, and even feature things such as gossip and in-fighting among the genetics community! There is also a New Zealand connection in here, with a chapter discussing DNA, Polynesian settlement and migration patterns.

The last chapters verge into a kind of creative non-fiction. Here Sykes looks in depth at the seven women (who are given names such as Tara and Xenia), offering a loose portrayal of human advancement through their lives, based partly on historical and archaeological records.

These well-presented revelations on genetics are recommended for fans of science, archaeology and human pre-history.

Author: Brian Sykes
Publisher: Corgi Books
ISBN: 9780552152181
Publication date: 2002

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