The Seven Daughters of Eve

The Seven Daughters of Eve

"The Seven Daughters of Eve" (2001, ISBN 0-393-02018-5) is a book by Bryan Sykes that presents the theory of Human mitochondrial genetics to a general audience. Sykes explains the principles of genetics and human evolution, the particularities of mitochondrial genetics, and analyses of ancient DNA to genetically link modern humans to prehistoric ancestors.

Following the developments of mitochondrial genetics, Sykes traces back human migrations, discusses the out of Africa theory and refutes Heyerdahl's theory of the Peruvian origin of the Polynesians, which opposed the theory of their origin in Indonesia. He also describes the use of mitochondrial DNA in identifying the remains of Czar Nicholas II, and in assessing the genetic makeup of modern Europe.

The title of the book comes from one of the principal achievements of mitochondrial genetics, which is the classification of all modern Europeans into seven groups, the "mitochondrial haplogroups". Each haplogroup is defined by set of characteristic mutations on the mitochondrial genome, and can be traced along a person's maternal line to a specific prehistoric woman. Sykes refers to these women as "clan mothers", though these women did not all live concurrently, and indeed some "clan mothers" are descended from others (although "not" maternally). All these women in turn shared a common maternal ancestor, the Mitochondrial Eve.

The last third of the book is spent on a series of fictional narratives, written by Sykes, describing his creative guesses about the lives of each of these seven "clan mothers". This latter half generally met with mixed reviews in comparison with the first part.

Mitochondrial haplogroups in "The Seven Daughters of Eve"

The seven "clan mothers" mentioned by Sykes each correspond to one (or more) human mitochondrial haplogroups.

* "Ursula": corresponds to Haplogroup U (excluding its subgroup K)
* "Xenia": corresponds to Haplogroup X
* "Helena": corresponds to Haplogroup H
* "Velda": corresponds to Haplogroup V
* "Tara": corresponds to Haplogroup T
* "Katrine": corresponds to Haplogroup K
* "Jasmine": corresponds to Haplogroup J

Additional daughters

Sykes claims there are seven major mitochondrial lineages for modern Europeans but others put the number at 10-12. These additional "daughters" generally include haplogroups I, M and W [ [ mtDNA (Mitochondria) Tests Interpretation] ] . A recent paper re-mapped European haplogroups as H, J, K, N1, T, U4, U5, V, X and W. [ [ description of paper entitled "Disuniting Uniformity: A Pied Cladistic Canvas of mtDNA haplogroup H in Eurasia"] ]

Likewise, Sykes has invented names for an additional 29 "clan mothers" worldwide, each corresponding to a different haplogroup identified by geneticists: "Fufei, Ina, Aiyana/Ai, Yumi, Nene, Naomi, Una, Uta, Ulrike, Uma, Ulla, Ulaana, Lara, Lamia, Lalamika, Latasha, Malaxshmi, Emiko, Gaia, Chochmingwu/Chie, Djigonasee/Sachi, Makeda, Lingaire, Lubaya, Limber, Lila, Lungile, Latifa and Layla." [ [ Oxford Ancestors glossary] ]

Japanese clans

Sykes is currently using the same methods to identify the nine "clan mothers" of Japanese ancestry, "all different from the seven European equivalents." [ [ Japanese women seek their ancestral roots in Oxford] by Tessa Holland, 25 June 2006, reprinted from Crisscross News]


*Bryan Sykes "The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry", W.W. Norton, 2001, hardcover, 306 pages, ISBN 0-393-02018-5

External links

* [ Review] from
* [ "Review Summary of The Seven Daughters of Eve"] , from

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