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 the discovery of the Ice Man and his age, which was put at over five thousand years old, fascinated the world. But what made the story particularly extraordinary was that Professor Sykes was also able to track down a living generic relative of the Ice Man, a woman living in Britain today. How was he able to locate a living relative of a man who died thousands of years ago? In The Seven Daughters of Eve, Bryan Sykes gives us a first hand account of his research into a remarkable gene which passes undiluted from generation to generation through the maternal line and shows how it is being used to track our genetic ancestors through time and space. After plotting thousands of DNA sequences from all over the world he found that they had clustered around a handful of distinct groups. In Europe there are only seven. The conclusion: almost everyone of native European descent, wherever they live in the world, can trace their ancestry back to one of seven women, the Seven Daughters of Eve. He has named them Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine and Jasmine. In this remarkable scientific adventure story we learn exactly how our origins can be traced, how and where our ancient genetic ancestors lived, what their live were like and how we are each living proof of the almost miraculous strength of our DNA which has survived and prospered over so many thousands of years to reach us today. It is a book that not only presents the story of our evolution in a wholly new light, but also strikes right at the heart of ourselves as individuals and of our sense of identity.
Autor seznamuje v knize, která se čte téměř jako detektivka, s nejnovějšími objevy vycházejícími ze studia lidské mitochondriální DNA. Čtenář se tak dočte o metodách studia DNA ve fosilním materiálu, o genetice ledovcového muže , o případu muže z Cheddaru , identifikaci ostatků carské rodiny, vyřešení záhady původu Polynésanů, problému jednoty a stáří lidstva a osídlení Evropy. Na základě svých výzkumů lidské mitochondriální DNA, předávané pouze na děti ženského pohlaví, dospívá autor k názoru, že všichni Evropané pocházejí ze sedmi žen, sedmi pramatek, které přišly do Evropy v různých dobách v průběhu uplynulých 45 000 let. Tento objev také významně podpořil teorii, podle níž je třeba kolébku dnešních lidí hledat v Africe. Genetický výzkum tak vnáší nové světlo do lidské historie.
The evolution of dogs and the forces that drove its amazing transformation from a fierce wild carnivore, the wolf, to the astonishing range of comparatively docile domesticated dogs that we know today. Sykes paints a vivid picture of the dog as an ancient and essential ally. While undoubtedly it was the mastery of fire, language and agriculture that propelled Homo sapiens from a scarce, medium-sized primate to the position we enjoy today, Sykes crucially credits a fourth element for this success: the transformation of the wolf into the multi-purpose helpmate that is the dog. Drawing upon archaeology, history and genetics, Sykes shows how humans evolved to become the dominant species on Earth, but only with the help of our canine companions.