DNA USA

Bryan Sykes, the evolutionary geneticist at Oxford University and the author of The Seven Daughters of Eve, is adding to his oeuvre of popular work on genetics with his new book, DNA USA, A Genetic Portrait of America.

As with his previous work, Sykes breaks down some of the complicated aspects of genetics in ways that are easily understood. This book is both travelogue and a snapshot of the genetic melting pot that is the United States of America.  As Sykes writes America is the place “where the genes of the three great continents converge.”

The book offers some intriguing, although mostly anecdotal, observations. During his journey Sykes meets people who agree to have their DNA tested anonymously. He then creates DNA portraits of these individuals, using 23andMe to create ancestry paintings of each individual. From that he drew conclusions about early America and the rich mixing of European, Asian and African people in America. The book also offers Sykes a chance to discuss the history of the earliest Americans.

Last week, our own senior director of research Joanna Mountain — who along with 23andMe scientist Mike Macpherson acted as consultants for some of the genetics in the book — introduced Sykes at a lecture he delivered at Berkeley Arts & Letters.

He got a good response from the audience and his book has some buzz including a thumbs-up from the Kirkus Review.
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  • http://www.thednadiet.com Carolyn Katzin

    Brian Sykes was the first person who inspired me to get involved in nutrigenomics and I went on to found Carolyn’s DNA Diet which provides proactive and positive insights into genomics.

  • Sarah K

    I have read _Seven Daughters of Eve_ and _Saxons, Vikings, and Celts_. I have just started reading _DNA USA_ and it was Dr. Sykes who first got me interested in genetics for genealogy purposes. Is there a way to combine (or submit) our 23andMe results with our family tree to provide more research information? The “Where are you from?” questions really don’t shed much light on my own family tree which is made up of both recent immigrants (great grandparents) and a Mayflower line through another great grandparent. Or is going back further than grandparents not practical because of too much change to DNA – excluding mtDNA of course?

  • Joel F Peres

    I recommend this book. Its fun and easy to read. I would never even be interested in this field had I not read his earlier books starting about a decade ago. However, for some of the savvier folks on 23andme, this book will not introduce anything that some of the more informed posters on the threads already know. Nonetheless, its an interesting and fascinating read by my favorite author. I recommend it.

  • lilia molina

    so far your analysis has been right on. i did get a stroke and i was not responding to cumadin -warfarin? you predicted some of this, lm

  • http://23andme Ruth McKinnon

    I have read many of Bryan sykes books including adams curse, I can not wait to read this new book.
    It would be good if 23andme could hook up with bryan sykes to tell us who we decend from in seven daughters of eve.
    Granny4

  • Joe

    I saw something about the book on TV. His estimate of the percentage of people of mixed race seems high and I wonder how reliable his numbers are since the participants seem to have been self-selected.

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