by Bryan Sykes

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DNA USA is intended to be a genetic portrait of the American population but is instead a mere sketch.   This book purports to do for the US what his earlier book Saxon, Viking, and Celts did for British genealogists but falls sadly short.  While there is some very interesting information to be gleaned from this book, it's not enough information to actually fill an entire book.  To make up for this shortcoming, Mr. Sykes spends all together too many pages describing his travels across America while he conducted genetic tests on population groups from east to west and back across the south.  For a scientist he has an easy to read style that any non-scientist can enjoy, but as a travel writer he makes a better scientist.  I don't wish to belittle his very considerable contributions to genetic research I just wish he had put much more information into this book.  Be that as it may, he does explain the results of genetic tests in relation to racial groups, European-American, African-American and Native American/Asian.  He also explains the intriguing bullet points listed on the cover like Jewish genes in Southwest Spanish-American Catholics and evidence of European genes among Native Americans that are 10,000 years old.  One lesson that came out of his work with Americans is the importance people place on the relationship between their identity and their genetics.  If this is of interest to you, by all means read the book, but if you are looking for an in depth understanding of how to use personal genetic tests for genealogical research, look elsewhere.

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