Scientists from Oxford University have started a new "DNA Geneology" venture called Oxford Ancestors. According to geneticists, all Europeans appear to be descended from seven women. If you want your DNA traced back to one of the original "daughters of Eve", visit the Oxford Ancestors Web site at www.oxfordancestors.com and pull down an order form. For just £120 or $180 you can be on your way to finding all of the skeletons in you DNA closet.
The researchers use mitochondrial DNA to probe into the past. This form of DNA is unique for being inherited exclusively through maternal lines. Before this research, tracing female lineage has been difficult, since most societies are patriarchal. However, with mitochondrial DNA studies, women are easier to trace than men.
According to a study of 6,000 samples of mitochondrial DNA, over 99% of Europeans can trace their maternal ancestry back to seven women, who the research team have named and profiled. The seven groups are:
- Helena - From the Pyrenees
- Jasmine - Lived around Syria
- Katrine - Traced to Venice
- Tara - Tuscany
- Ursala - Drifters. Traced across all of Europe
- Valda - Originatesd in Spain
- Xenia - From the Caucasus
The seven European groups can be traced back to a "Lara" clan which still exists in Africa today. In addition to Lara, there are two more clans existing in Africa which may prove that all humans share common African ancestors.