Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project

Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project

by Spencer Wells


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426201189
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Publication date: 11/20/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 574,168
Product dimensions: 4.83(w) x 7.81(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Spencer Wells is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and the director of the Genographic Project. After studying under genetic pioneer Luigi Cavalli-Sforza at Stanford University, he began an unusual career that mixes science, writing, and filmmaking. His acclaimed first book, The Journey of Man, combined his own DNA research with the work of archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, paleoclimatologists, and linguists to show how modern humans came to populate the planet.

Table of Contents

Introduction     1
The Block     9
Odine's Story: The Exception     27
Margaret's Story: The Hearth     55
Phil's Story: The Ice     85
Virumandi's Story: The Beach     115
Julius's Story: The Cradle     133
Epilogue     163
Haplogroup Descriptions     175
Glossary     229
Further Reading     235
About the Author     238
Author Acknowledgments and Illustration Credits     240
Index     242

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Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
MedeaMoon on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A pretty good read, full of information that is easy to digest. The author gives good technical information presented in an approachable manner without being condescending. The true life stories about some of the subjects of the project give the book an authenticity that gets people interested in the ideas presented therein. The idea that we all carry similar DNA is an exciting concept that I feel could and should disabuse people of the notion that one race or another is superior. Biodiversity is what makes us stronger and smarter. In order to understand where we are going as humans we need to understand where we have been. Overall a worthwhile book with an interesting concept.
MelanieL on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Fascinating read! A nice reminder of concepts learned in high-school, as well as linking them to the possiblility of tracing genetic markers to our very first ancestors and their migratory routes. Well written, in a conversational tone and relatively easy to follow.I'm now eager to submit my own DNA to learn just where I'm from!
PirateJenny on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Another early reviewer win.I found this book absolutely fascinating. I have a family member participating in the National Genographic Program and I really enjoyed reading about the genesis of the program and its goals for the future. The one gripe I had was the difficulty in reading the charts, but as someone who works in publishing, I know that advanced readers' copies always have low-resolution art, so I wasn't surprised by this as it's always the case. I'll just go the Web site of the project and see what's there in terms of charts and maps and such.The case studies were also interesting in providing meaty stories of specific haplogroups. And the specifics in the back of each haplogroup were great, especially the lists of each marker leading up to the current one.I'd wanted to become part of the project before, but now I'm definitely going to take part. I have a fairly good idea, based on what's prevalent in what areas, what haplogroup I'll fall into, but I always could be one of those very odd cases. One never knows.
dpdwyer on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Good information. Written for perhaps high school level.
melsmarsh on LibraryThing 10 months ago
¿Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project¿ as the name suggests takes us inside the genographic project in a quest to solve who we are and where we came from. It gives a nice history of the project proving examples of individuals who donated DNA to the project and what scientists were able to learn from them. Although some of the topics can be a little complex to those who might not have a significant biology background or even those whose last biology class was several years ago, it is perfectly understandable to the layperson and Dr. Wells is able to translate between the technical jargon used by scientists and the common language of the layperson. A glossary in the back of the book, just in case something is not explained fully in the text, is also present. For those of us who might like a little more detail other than that which is provided in the main text, there is a fairly decent sized appendix in the back, which offers details about all the various ¿families¿ that scientists can trace via their mutations on the mitochondrial DNA (provided from the mother to all children) as well as the mutations on the Y marker which is passed down from father to son. It's a nice little book although I wish it was longer.
Oreillynsf on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A great layperson's view of the incredible genome project undertaken by Nat Geo and an incredibly talented group of scientists. I've seen Spencer Wells in person, and i think the only thing he does better than lecture is write. He makes a fabulously complicated scientific discipline fascinating, readable, and truly exciting. It's a story of science, but Wells makes it a story of individuals and families, giving it a layperson scale. It's such a great reminder that we are all family.
DebbieKennett on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A good introduction to deep ancestry but the haplogroup information is now somewhat dated.
LBrary on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I was interested in reading Spencer Wells¿ latest book, Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project, because I had been fascinated by his 2003 documentary, The Journey of Man. This book updates the research presented in the documentary, and includes studies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages, which are passed on in the female line. The Journey of Man had focused on the Y chromosome and what it could reveal about human migration over the past 50,000 years.Deep Ancestry is clearly intended to be an easy introduction to the study of anthropological genetics, as well as a promotional tool for the Genographic Project itself. It certainly does whet the appetite for further reading, though the bibliography is disappointingly small for anyone seeking to read more. Wells¿ writing style is similarly over-simplified, with far too many asides to provide analogies the reader might understand. The asides only manage to disrupt the flow of his sentences, and the analogies are often more trite than informative. As an example, he writes that all the DNA in a human body ¿could theoretically stretch to the moon and back thousands of times¿like a molecular War and Peace, but a thousand times longer.¿ However, he does succeed in making the various investigations more personal by tying each major chapter to an individual whose genetic ancestry is revealed. And the appendix outlining the haplogroups helps make sense of the timelines and migration patterns discussed in the book by making the relationships among them more clear. All in all, the contents of Deep Ancestry are sufficiently fascinating to make up for what it lacks in writing style. I definitely intend to read more on this subject.
MissElliot on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Deep Ancestry: inside the genographic project is really 3 stories in one. First, it is the tale of the movement of human populations, using genetics, archeology, climatology and other tools to discover this history. Next, it tells the story of the genographic project, how the project came to be, what the goals are and what the next steps will be. The third story is that of the DNA itself - how DNA works, what the geneticists are looking for that helps them identify certain groups of people, and exactly how different we are from one another (not very much, as it turns out).Each chapter starts with the story of an individual, including their ethnic background, their participation in the project, and their genetic markers. It is a good organizational structure, grounding the book firmly with the human story the project is telling.The final chapter explores the places that need future study, including the specific questions that need to be asked and the scientists who will be conducting the research. The lengthy appendix goes into detail about the the various genetic groups, indicating where the populations are found today, the history of their movements, and any unanswered questions about the lineage.The review copy I received has very poor quality graphics, making the maps and diagrams almost impossible to read.Overall I thought the book was extremely well written and organized. It is a short introduction to a subject I'm not too familiar with, the explanations of the genetics were very well done. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I look forward to hearing more about the project.
idyllicmelody on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Spencer Wells' 'Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project' is an interesting, informative little book. It is sort of a "bite-sized" version of other books on the subject, such as Brian Sykes' 'The Seven Daughters of Eve.' This book chronicles the journey of the genographic project, a scientific undertaking looking to discover and explore the roots of the human species. Wells details the story of the search of five individuals: a descendant of Thomas Jefferson, the author's own Scandinavian grandmother who lived in the American Midwest, a Navajo man from Arizona, an Indian villager, and the chief of a hunter-gatherer tribe in Africa. Though not completely engrossing, Wells' book is interesting and enlightening. It's also very accessible and easy to read for those who are not well-read in this area of study. 'Deep Ancestry' is recommend to those interested in global history, and to those who are curious as to where their distant ancestors originated. "The goal is ultimately to connect people from around the world into one family, showing how our ancestors took their long journey from Africa to wherever we live today."
Stbalbach on LibraryThing 10 months ago
"Deep Ancestry" is a sort of simplified version of "The Journey of Man" which is a classic. Although many of the details were new, details which I will forget, the concepts are the same, no new ideas. Given all the recent controversy of Genographic Project with indigenous peoples, in particular American Indians, this reads like an apology on why the project is important and the nature of the research. I did learn some new things and its a very short 170 pages of text (the rest being appendix).
name99 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Another "good, but" book. It covers the same territory as Luca Cavalli-Sforza, but is more up-to-date. Along with that, the explanations of how the raw data being gathered is converted into historical trees and putative maps of movements is not bad.That's the good news. The bad news is that it reads like a book written very hastily, and obviously it's written with only a small part of the ultimate data available. As such it is constantly hedging, and it's not clear which part of what's mentioned is considered settled fact, and which is considered speculative assumptions.Even so, this is such an interesting area that (at least right now) I recommend it. Nonetheless in a year or two I hope to see a new entrant in the field, with more data and perhaps more carefully written, at which point point this volume becomes moot.
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LAReaderDG More than 1 year ago
The new science behind genetic anthropology seems like a miracle, and I have never come across such a clear and easy to understand explanation. I was so enthralled, that I decided to take part in the research project, by going online and ordering the participation kit. I highly recommend reading the book and then participating in the study to find out your deep ancestry. The revelation in the book that race is really non-existent genetically was liberating. The color of one's skin really has very little to do with our common humanity.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Deep Ancestry is the story of us. Or the story of how scientists are figuring out the story of us. Meant to be an introduction to the National Geographic's Genographic Project, Deep Ancestry provides a summary of the complicated genetic discoveries being made by researchers every day. Author Spencer Wells uses real life people's stories to introduce concepts like haplogroups and population genetics in order to break up the technobabble that cannot really be avoided without entirely dumbing down the ideas he's trying to convey. A good chunk of the end of the book is a detailed appendix with entries describing each haplogroup 'Y chromosome and mtDNA', including all the various markers that point the way to the groups earliest common ancestor. This section seems best suited to those who have purchased a DNA testing kit and want to research their test results.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Spencer Wells has written a very interesting book. The name is 'Deep Ancestry' or 'The Journey of Man'. It appears to be two titles, but an objective reader will find that essentially only one manuscript was used. In so doing he has taken plagiarism to a whole new level. Much like the parts of the genome he describes that creates near perfect copies but throws in a mutation here and there to keep life interesting, he has simply taken his first book and added some anecdotes about a few real people as examples and published it again under a new title. The two books tell exactly the same tale, although the sequence has been slightly altered in the second book to the detriment of the story. Nevertheless, the texts are so similar that in both books we can find the same little quip about the absence of living Neanderthals (book 1, p.38): ¿despite what you may think of your colleague in the office next door¿, (book 2, p.108): ¿despite what you may think of that annoying person in the office down the hall from you¿. Finally, can be mentioned that if you thought that you picked up a 246-page book for $24.00, the story (the one that was actually already told in his first book) in fact ends on page 174. The rest is an appendix that lists haplogroups. Mr. Well's first book was very well written and described a fascinating subject. My advice is to buy the paper back version of his first book for and don't waste your money on this mutation.