Genetic Strand Exploring a Family History Through DNA

ISBN-10: 0743266587
ISBN-13: 9780743266581
Edition: 2007
Authors: Edward Ball
List price: $25.00
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Description: The Genetic Strandis 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 11/6/2007
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

The Genetic Strandis 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? 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? Part crime-scene investigation, part genealogical romp,The Genetic Strandis 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 writers entertaining and idiosyncratic family, such as Balls 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 authors first cousin Catherine, very much alive, who donates a cheek swab from a mouth more attuned to sweet iced tea than DNA sampling. 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,The Genetic Strandreaches toward a new form of writingthe genetic memoir.

Edward Ball has been gathering data and researching vintage Gretsch guitars for nearly a decade. In 2010, he released his first book on the topic, entitled "Gretsch 6120: The History of a Legendary Guitar" (Schiffer Publishing).

Preface
The Desk
The Molecule
Out of Africa
Americanus rubescus
Intragression
Kate Fuller
The Color of Home
Cousin Marriage
Poisoned Children
Faith in Fathers
Machines for the Molecule
The Phantom Mutation
Deep Time
Acknowledgments
Index

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