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Download DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America Audiobook, by Bryan Sykes Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (210 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bryan Sykes Narrator: John Curless Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9781464038426
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Having worked on numerous high-profile genetic investigations, including one focused on the famed Iceman of the Italian Alps, Bryan Sykes has become a premier authority on human genetics. In DNA USA, Sykes examines the unique fabric of the U.S. population—one of the world’s most genetically variegated countries. His fascinating discoveries offer new insights into the biological profile of the great melting pot, one of the most genetically variegated countries in the world. From the blue-blooded pockets of old-WASP New England to the vast tribal lands of the Navajo, Bryan Sykes takes us on a historical genetic tour, interviewing genealogists, geneticists, anthropologists, and everyday Americans with compelling ancestral stories. His findings suggest:

– Of Americans whose ancestors came as slaves, virtually all have some European DNA.
– Racial intermixing appears least common among descendants of early New England colonists.
– There is clear evidence of Jewish genes among descendants of southwestern Spanish Catholics.
– Among white Americans, evidence of African DNA is most common in the South.
– European genes appeared among Native Americans as early as ten thousand years ago.

An unprecedented look into America's genetic mosaic and how we perceive race, DNA USA challenges the very notion of what we think it means to be American.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Human genetics energetically elucidated, entertaining travel writing, the fascinating personal stories of DNA volunteers, and Sykes’ candid musings on his awakening to the complex emotional and social implications of hidden biological inheritances make for a milestone book guaranteed to ignite spirited discussion.” 

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Sykes combines history, science, travel, and memoir in one grand exposition of what it means to be an ‘American.’ In a graceful text, the author delivers rich images of the American landscape, conversations with strangers, and historic asides on the waves of immigration, the Indian diasporas and the various federal laws that shaped the movements of people across the continent…Sykes should also be applauded for his skills as a storyteller, science expositor, travel companion, and compassionate human being.” 

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “An authority on ancient DNA analysis, Sykes provides a nontechnical introduction to how Y chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA may be used to reveal ancestral heritage…These DNA portraits illustrate the complexity of human inheritance and how difficult it is to assign individuals to distinct groups.”

    Library Journal

  • New York Times Bestselling Author

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mhd | 1/29/2014

    " The title is extremely misleading. It's much more something like "Sykes, who talks about DNA, visits part of the USA." It is very, very repetitive of his other books. On the other hand, given the complexity of some of the DNA content, some of that repetition may be worthwhile. What isn't at all worthwhile is the travelogue and name-dropping. I was really looking forward to this book, especially given all the press that NEHGS is giving it, but I'm very glad that I was able to check it out from my local library. I will not be buying it. And, my DNA research time would have been better spent reviewing the books I already have or even with the FTDNA website. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fenix Rose | 1/27/2014

    " This was a very interesting and facinating book. What we look like on the outside and how society catagorizes us isnt necesarily our genetic makeup. All the more reason I dislike those ethnic/racial categories we are forced to choose from. Most of us are a mix, a mix we arent aware of for the most part. I wonder how those of us who are orphans or those who have only one parent that has been around would be affected by having their DNA mapped like this? Would we find a sense of belonging? Maybe not. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 1/26/2014

    " I found this book pretty interesting in parts especially the chapters that discussed the science of DNA and how an individual inherits his/her autosomal DNA down through the generations. The chapters in the book dealing with the road trip up to the Northwest interacting with the native tribes wasn't as interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peggy | 1/25/2014

    " Fascinating--for example--I learned that both horses and camels are native to North America! However, he is a bit too political, which is why it is not a 5-star book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 1/19/2014

    " This book is a genealogy of the American people, explaining through genetics what parts of the world we originated from. There were parts of the book I found fascinating and other parts only mildly interesting. The author describes the background of each person he DNA samples during his train/road trip throughout the US (giving the samplers fictitious names from characters out of Hollywood films.) (Hollywood films are referenced throughout the book. The author is British, and he relates to the US, as much of the world does, through these ubiquitous Hollywood films.) Although it was also interesting to read Bryan Sykes descriptions of his part train trip, part automobile journey across the US, I found the book best when the author combined the history and culture of each group--Native American, European, African-American--with an explanation of the actual genetics from his individual DNA samples to give a more complete history of who we are as a people in the US. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie Curtis | 1/14/2014

    " I was very happy to receive a copy of this book through the First Reads program. Overall I would say it was a pretty okay read. Not terrible, but not something I would recommend to everyone I know. The copy I read was an ARC, so I understand there may have been changes in the final copy. I really hope one of the changes involved the flow of the book. It felt very choppy, and some things seemed out of place. Maybe a shuffling of the chapters would have helped. The road trip he took with his son in the second half of the book was a strange, out of place section that didn't follow the feel of the rest of the book at all. Most of the many pictures included would do well in a private family vacation photo album, not a science book. As for the positives, you could really feel the author's energy and passion and the intense knowledge he has of DNA. He is an engaging writer and presents difficult topics in an easy to understand way. I definitely want to read more on the topic, and maybe even get my own DNA tested one day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miriam | 1/8/2014

    " It's interesting how much you can learn about human migrations from our DNA. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 NerdGirlBlogger | 11/27/2013

    " Easy to read and understand, which is always nice when reading about science. I found this book to be extremely interesting and informative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marycatherine Mcgarvey | 10/15/2013

    " This was a good follow up to the Seven Daughters of EVE. He takes a complicated subject and makes it into an interesting story. Really great Non-Fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann Marie | 4/30/2013

    " An easier read than "The Seven Daughters of Eve", although I did read them out of sequence! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 3/19/2013

    " I really think this could have been a shorter book. While I appreciated the overall thesis, there just seemed to be a lot of filler. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charles Suddeth | 3/1/2013

    " Read Sykes before. Interesting. A lot left out, parts of it read like a memoir and seems like filler. A good attempt, but overly ambitious. "

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About the Author
Author Bryan Sykes

Bryan Sykes is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Seven Daughters of Eve and a former professor of human genetics at Oxford University. His company, Oxford Ancestors, is a genealogical DNA testing firm. He has been involved in a number of high-profile cases involving ancient DNA, most notably that of Ötzi the Iceman and Cheddar Man, two well preserved natural mummies. Sykes’ other books include Adam’s Curse: A Future Without Men, Blood of the Isles: Exploring the Genetic Roots of Our Tribal History, and The Human Inheritance: Genes, Language, and Evolution.

About the Narrator

John Curless is a theater, film, and television actor. He has appeared on Broadway in Journeys End, The Sound of Music, and The King and I and off-Broadway in Passion Play, Comic Potential, and The Entertainer. His film and television credits include Vibrations, Ed, and NYPD Blue. His audiobook narrations have been awarded two AudioFile Earphones Awards.