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Publisher's Summary

One of the most dramatic stories of genetic discovery since James Watson's The Double Helix - a work whose scientific and cultural reverberations will be discussed for years to come.

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 both the Ice Man's discovery and his age, which was put at over 5,000 years, fascinated scientists and newspapers throughout the world. But what made Sykes's story particularly revelatory was his successful identification of a genetic descendant of the Ice Man, a woman living in Great Britain today. How was Sykes able to locate a living relative of a man who died thousands of years ago?

In The Seven Daughters of Eve, he gives us a firsthand account of his research into a remarkable gene, which passes undiluted from generation to generation through the maternal line. After plotting thousands of DNA sequences from all over the world, Sykes found that they clustered around a handful of distinct groups. Among Europeans and North American Caucasians, there are, in fact, only seven.

©2001 Bryan Skyes (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about The Seven Daughters of Eve

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Fun read

I read this for research at school, but I liked it so much that I bought a copy for my own library. The narration was good, and the fictional stories of the seven daughters made the scientific information fun. loved it.

7 people found this helpful

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Well written and well read

I listen to and read a lot of books aimed at lay people about genetics and human evolution, and frequently I feel like many authors are rehashing previously written material and aren't adding much that is new. So I cautiously started listening to this audio book hoping that it would be better than some of my other recent listens. I was pleasantly surprised both at the writing style, which was engaging and at the narration which was also well done. The book covers the discover and use of mitochondrial DNA to trace our maternal ancestry in a way that illuminates various aspects of human history. One thing I particularly enjoyed about this book was the author's writing style and use of story, he interweaves his personal story and personal stories of our 7 ancestral mothers to tell a more relate-able and emotional story than would have been told alone had he just stuck to the science - he added the human component to the story.

6 people found this helpful

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Eurocentric

I should have realized by the title, but the seven daughters are European ancestors only. He gives lip service to other matrilineal lines but for the most part, very Eurocentric, which was disappointing to me.

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Excellent explanation of how the maternal DNA work

Loved it from start to finish
Have heard stories before on the maternal DNA but now I understand a lot better

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Narration does not do the subject justice.

I'd read this book in my early twenties and was enthralled. So I was thrilled to find it in audible, which made my disappointment so much worse. The narrator has a beautiful voice but always reads in the same sing-song, as though he isn't alwats conscious of what he's reading. Perhaps he was bored, but this us like a classroom reading and lost my attention frequently. So disappointing!

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Ate you my mother?

loved the audible recording. allowed me to work through chores as I gained valuable information

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An interesting glimpse

This audible book is a good fit for those interested in the DNA side of anthropology. It mixes modern technological finds with a quaint narrative for each character to give the listener a valuable glimpse into the time period each of the women lived in. Great find for the DNA/23 and Me curious.

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Brilliant!

Most interesting book I've ever listened to. I've been looking for this book for many years and i'm very glad I found this book from audible.

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Hours of data, minutes of story.

My title sums it up. Interesting, but as something to listen to on a commute, it gets a little tedious as Dr. Sykes explains how he dissolved his method of DNA analysis, leading up to the stories of the 7 daughters of Eve. The stories themselves are very enjoyable, and the info is interesting, it’s just so unlistenable on a long drive.

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Really informative and interesting

Fascinating. Loved the behind the scenes about the research process and explanation of the DNA and what it means for understanding human evolution. Perfect narration!

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  • Trevor Hunter
  • 05-17-18

Gene-ius

loved it. The most convincing story of us, The story of Eve for a scientific audience. Highly recommended and easy to listen to despite the subject matter. Thanks Brian.

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  • Miss Alexandra Rinck
  • 08-06-20

Captivating

Very illuminating, clear and captivatingly told through stories. Previously I found it difficult to visualise how "mitochondrial Eve" and Y chromosomal Adam (last common male ancestor of all men) could have lived at different times. Now this makes more intuitive sense. Enjoyed the highs of new discovery Sykes shared. Some emotional rollercoasters - despair and triumph featured.

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  • David Burden
  • 07-02-20

A fascinating story and very well explained

The author is a bit full of himself.
Science is almost always a team effort.
it would be better balanced if a few other people were given credit.

Otherwise an excellent and informative book.

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  • stephanie
  • 06-14-20

loved this book! super interesting!

this book really goes in depth into the origin of humans and our prehistoric ancestry. My favorite part were chapters 16 to 22.

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  • Emir Catovic
  • 09-29-20

very good

my only criticism is that when he was narrating the stories about the 7 womens lives it was difficult to tell how much was based in fact and how much was artistic licence being used to fill in the gaps. other than that I really quite enjoyed this book and learnt a lot. if you're just interested in the the stories of the women start halfway in the book. somewhere around chapter 14 as the second half is much more fun than the first. the first is full of scientific back story which some will find dull

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  • jimmie
  • 06-24-19

Another amazing journey into prehistory

I enjoyed every minute of this story, though I did find the narrator's extremely plummy accent slightly distracting. The book moves seamlessly between science, contemporary academic processes and deep history. Enriching.