The Juggler's Children

The Juggler's Children

A Journey Into Family, Legend and the Genes That Bind Us

Book - 2013
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Carolyn Abraham explores the stunning power and ethical pitfalls of using genetic tests to answer questions of genealogy--by cracking the genome of her own family.

Recently, tens of thousands of people have been drawn to mail-order DNA tests to learn about their family roots. Abraham investigates whether this burgeoning new science can help solve 2 mysteries that have haunted her multi-racial family for more than a century. Both hinge on her enigmatic great-grandfathers--a hero who died young and a scoundrel who disappeared. Can the DNA they left behind reveal their stories from beyond the grave?

Armed with DNA kits, Abraham criss-crosses the globe, taking cells from relatives and strangers, a genetic journey that turns up far more than she bargained for--ugly truths and moral quandaries. With lively writing and a compelling personal narrative, The Juggler's Children tackles profound questions around the genetics of identity, race and humanity, and tells a big story about our small world, with vivid proof that genes bind us all to the branches of one family tree.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2013.
ISBN: 9780679314592
Branch Call Number: 929. 20971 ABR A
Characteristics: 380 p. : ill., maps, ports., geneal. tables

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DeborahGD
Jul 21, 2014

Fascinating read, from the point of view of both history and genetics. Highly recommended.

cangduke May 17, 2014

Please cancel this hold .

s
sasha7776
Feb 14, 2014

Inspires me to seek my roots. A great read.

j
jmikesmith
Nov 14, 2013

"What are you?" That's what Carolyn Abraham's classmates asked her on the playground. With her brown skin and European features, the other kids were curious. Abraham's parents were born in India. She was born in England and moved to Canada as a child. Now a science reporter, she decided to use her contacts to explore the genetic history of her family and answer that school yard question. Abraham knew she was primarily Anglo-Indian, but there were family rumours of other ingredients in the mix. One of her great- grandfathers was rumoured to be a Chinese juggler. There were also stories of a great-grandfather known as "The Captain" who sailed to India from Jamaica. Combining archival searches with commercial DNA tests and old-fashioned family stories, Abraham tries to piece together her origins. The focus of the book is the ability of DNA tests to reveal ancestry. She explains how certain DNA is passed down only from mothers and how the Y chromosome in men must come directly from their fathers. By comparing samples to those from people around the world, scientists can estimate where your DNA originated and how long it's been since your forebears left their ancestral homeland. Told in a solid, journalistic style, The Juggler's Children recounts Abraham's years-long investigation. It did at times get confusing because of all the relatives and contacts referred to mostly by their first names. Abraham discovers a range of potential distant cousins, but no clear-cut answers. In the long run, DNA can only tell you so much and cannot replace the oral history that every family has. But it at least helps you determine what questions you should be asking.

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