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2006-04-30 11:25

  Europe's seven female founders


  Everyone in Europe is descended from just seven women. Arriving at different times during the last 45,000 years, they survived wolves, bears and ice ages to form different clans that eventually became today's population. These are the claims of Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University.




  Calling them "The Seven Daughters of Eve", Professor Sykes has individually named them Ursula, Xenia, Tara, Helena, Katrine, Valda and Jasmine. Professor Sykes arrived at his conclusion by studying mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from mothers to children. From 6000 random samples, and allowing for naturally occurring mutations, he established seven different clusters of DNA.

  * mitochondrial:线粒体的。

  *random:本意是"胡乱的,任意的",在统计学里是"随机的"意思。比如:random sampling(随机取样)。


  *cluster:指"串、丛、群"等,聚集在一起的一簇。这里指(人或物的)群,组。比如:a cluster of tourists(一群游客)。

  "It follows that the seven clusters must have sprung from one woman each," he told the BBC. Professor Sykes says that the ancestry of 99% of Europeans can now be traced back to the seven women who founded the clans. He has also been quick to realise the commercial aspects of his project, founding a company, Oxford Ancestors, which offers to trace anyone's maternal ancestry.

  *ancestry:(总称)祖先。比如:His ancestry settled in American in the 1620's.(他的祖先于17世纪20年代定居美洲。)


  Europe's seven female founders


  However, Professor Sykes went on to say that while his genetic work is rooted in fact, the names he has given to the women are hypothetical. He says the names are an attempt to personalise DNA codes, which have traditionally been labelled alphabetically. "For example, with the letter T, group T, I've just extended that to be the descendants of a woman called Tara," he said.


  *label:加标签于,用标签标明。比如:The luggage is properly label(l)ed for London.(行李上正确无误地贴好了运往伦敦的标签。)

  The study is being seen as further evidence of the way in which genetic research can shed light on human history. His names for the women, which draw on Gaelic, Scandinavian and Persian heritage amongst others, reflect the huge geographic area from which modern Europeans descended.

  *draw on:这里是"吸收,利用"的意思。塞克斯教授起的七个名字吸收了盖尔语、斯堪的纳维亚语和波斯语的传统。

  *heritage:本义是"遗产",这里指"继承物,传统"。比如:Her skin is very white, a heritage from her mother.(她皮肤白皙,是母亲遗传给她的。)

  His discovery also reinforces the theory that modern human beings have their origins in ancient Africa. Professor Sykes found that the seven ancestral mothers have strong links to one of three clans that still exist in Africa today.

  *reinforce:原指"增强,加强",这里是"进一步证实"的意思。比如:This rainforces what you are saying.(这进一步证实了你正在说的话。)文中说,塞克斯教授的发现也进一步证实了现代人类起源于古非洲的理论。

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