Mapping European Ancestry

Sykes’ Diagram

Behold: the ancestral networks through which Sykes and his research team diagramed the seven “clan mothers” of all Europeans. Note, however, that this graphic was made for someone named “Roberta Estes,” who is (presumably) someone who had her mitochondrial DNA tested in order to discern her own ancestral origin. Apparently, her ancestry can be traced back to “Jasmine,” the most recent of the clan mothers.

Theoretically, any European could have her or his mitochondrial DNA sequencing and analyzed in order to situate their origin in one of the seven clans. Each of the seven circles represents a specific mitochondrial DNA sequence persevered over thousands of years via maternal inheritance, and the size of the circles represent the proportion of Europeans who share each sequence. Each line represents mutations, or differences, between the sequences that they connect, and the distances separating any two circles is proportional to the number of mutations separating each sequence. The dashed line between Ursula and Xenia indicates an “even deeper genealogy through which our species, Homo sapiens, is connected to the other, extinct, humans, the Neanderthals and Homo erectus, and eventually back to the common ancestor of humans and other primates” (275). Pretty AWESOME, in my opinion…