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1 Beaverton Nature Studies- Genetics

The Genetic Strand: Exploring a Family History Through DNA

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The Genetic Strand: Exploring a Family History Through DNA Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

andlt;iandgt;The Genetic Strandandlt;/iandgt; is the story of a writer's investigation, using DNA science, into the tale of his family's origins. National Book Award winner Edward Ball has turned his probing gaze on the microcosm of the human genome, and not just any human genome — that of his slave-holding ancestors. What is the legacy of such a family history, and can DNA say something about it? andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; In 2000, after a decade in New York City, Ball bought a house in Charleston, South Carolina, home to his father's family for generations, and furnished it with heirloom pieces from his relatives. In one old desk he was startled to discover a secret drawer, sealed perhaps since the Civil War, in which someone had hidden a trove of family hair, with each lock of hair labeled and dated. The strange find propelled him to investigate: what might DNA science reveal about the people — Ball's family members, long dead — to whom the hair had belonged? Did the hair come from white relatives, as family tradition insisted? How can genetic tests explain personal identity? andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Part crime-scene investigation, part genealogical romp, andlt;iandgt;The Genetic Strandandlt;/iandgt; is a personal odyssey into DNA and family history. The story takes the reader into forensics labs where technicians screen remains, using genetics breakthroughs like DNA fingerprinting, and into rooms where fathers nervously await paternity test results. It also summons the writerand#185;s entertaining and idiosyncratic family, such as Balland#185;s antebellum predecessor, Aunt Betsy, who published nutty books on good Southern society; Kate Fuller, the enigmatic ancestor who may have introduced African genes into the Ball family pool; and the authorand#185;s first cousin Catherine, very much alive, who donates a cheek swab from a mouth more attuned to sweet iced tea than DNA sampling. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Writing gracefully but pacing his story like an old-fashioned whodunit, Edward Ball tracks genes shared across generations, adding suspense and personal meaning to what the scientists and Nobel laureates tell us. A beguiling DNA tale, andlt;iandgt;The Genetic Strandandlt;/iandgt; reaches toward a new form of writing the genetic memoir.

Review:

"Some locks of hair found in the secret compartment of a family heirloom was the catalyst for Ball, a National Book Award winner for Slaves in the Family, to embark on a genetic family history. He became animated with the thought that through DNA analysis of the hair he could discover some truths about his Ball ancestry, such as whether his father's maternal grandmother, Kate Fuller, was part African-American. As he relates his experiences with various DNA labs, Ball also describes the hard science behind DNA forensics, informed by conversations with experts in the field. But the account's drama comes from a finding that suggests a Native American ancestor in his family tree. Another lab contradicts this evidence, and the error affects Ball profoundly, leading him to rail about the fallibility of science, the dangers of making science the new religion and scientists, specifically molecular biologists, the new priests. Forensic DNA testing has become hot (exemplified by Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s televised testing results), and as Ball's own emotions show, is also playing into Americans' sense of identity. Ball's tale will intrigue America's many amateur genealogists and also serve as a cautionary tale." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Several years ago, Edward Ball took possession of an ancient family desk and discovered something in a locked compartment that to him must have seemed almost predestined. He found a collection of carefully labeled and dated locks of hair from nine of his 19th-century relatives, the oldest specimen dating from 1824. Ball was uniquely qualified to explore the implications of such a trove: His 1998 book... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

About the Author

andlt;Bandgt;Edward Ballandlt;/Bandgt; was born in Savannah, Georgia; graduated from Brown University; and was a writer for andlt;Iandgt;The Village Voice.andlt;/Iandgt; His first book, andlt;Iandgt;Slaves in the Family,andlt;/Iandgt; won the National Book Award. He is also the author of andlt;Iandgt;The Sweet Hell Inside.andlt;/Iandgt;

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface 1

1 The Desk 5

2 The Molecule 25

3 Out of Africa 49

4 Americanus rubescus 71

5 Intragression 89

6 Kate Fuller 107

7 The Color of Home 121

8 Cousin Marriage 135

9 Poisoned Children 151

10 Faith in Fathers 169

11 Machines for the Molecule 185

12 The Phantom Mutation 215

13 Deep Time 237

Acknowledgments 253

Index 255

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743266581
Author:
Ball, Edward
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
General
Subject:
Genealogy
Subject:
Dna
Subject:
DNA fingerprinting.
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Regional Subjects - South
Subject:
United States - State & Local - South
Subject:
Charleston Region (S.C.)
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20071131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
14 b-w photos t-o
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.62 in 13.72 oz

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Reference » Genealogy » Heraldry
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Genetics
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Genetics

The Genetic Strand: Exploring a Family History Through DNA Used Hardcover
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Product details 288 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780743266581 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Some locks of hair found in the secret compartment of a family heirloom was the catalyst for Ball, a National Book Award winner for Slaves in the Family, to embark on a genetic family history. He became animated with the thought that through DNA analysis of the hair he could discover some truths about his Ball ancestry, such as whether his father's maternal grandmother, Kate Fuller, was part African-American. As he relates his experiences with various DNA labs, Ball also describes the hard science behind DNA forensics, informed by conversations with experts in the field. But the account's drama comes from a finding that suggests a Native American ancestor in his family tree. Another lab contradicts this evidence, and the error affects Ball profoundly, leading him to rail about the fallibility of science, the dangers of making science the new religion and scientists, specifically molecular biologists, the new priests. Forensic DNA testing has become hot (exemplified by Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s televised testing results), and as Ball's own emotions show, is also playing into Americans' sense of identity. Ball's tale will intrigue America's many amateur genealogists and also serve as a cautionary tale." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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