The American Genealogical Mosaic

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The United States has just over 300 million people. If you break that down to a biological level, that equals about 13.8 billion human chromosomes, and at least 90 trillion human genes. So what do all these genes say about the country? What do they say about us?

In his new book "DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America," Bryan Sykes tackles this issue head-on, offering a varied and nuanced impression of the country's genetic makeup, and what it means for the United States' reputation as a melting pot.

Here's an excerpt of the first chapter of DNA USA:

I have had a weakness for grand museums ever since I was a boy. I used to catch the train up to London at least once during each school holiday and spend the day in South Kensington at either the Natural History Museum or the Science Museum. Like most boys, my favorite exhibits were always the biggest: the enormous hissing steam engine or the giant blue whale, and of course the dinosaurs. As I have grown older I appreciate these museums more for their embodiment of optimism and curiosity about the world than for the splendor of their individual exhibits. America has its fair share of grand museums, nowhere more so thanthe great showplaces surrounding New York’s Central Park or lining the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

You can download the rest of the first chapter here.

Guests:

Bryan Sykes

Produced by:

Ben Gottlieb

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