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Maternal DNA Introduction
Maternal DNA Clans
My Maternal DNA


Maternal DNA Results

Helena (Greek for Light)
Whether just by chance or by the guiding hand of natural selection we do not know, but Helena's clan has grown to become the most widespread and successful of the Seven Daughters of Eve. Her children have reached every shore, settled every forest and crossed every mountain range. Helena's descendants can be found from the Alps in the South to the Scottish Highlands and the Norwegian fjords in the North, and as far east as the Urals and the Russian steppes.

Helena was born about 20,000 years ago on the strip of land that joins France and Spain, near what is now Perpignan. She belonged to a family of hunters, who harvested the rich oyster beds in the lagoons of the Camargue to supplement their diet of meat. Helena's clan arrived in Europe from the Middle East, pushing their way along the Mediterranean, constrained to the narrow strip of land that was still habitable.

Not long after she was born, the glaciers that covered the Pyrenees, which Helena could see on a clear day only thirty miles from her camp, began to draw back as, little by little, the summers grew warmer. Some of her clan moved south of the mountains, up the valley of the Ebro to the West to reach the lands of the Basque, where they remain to this day. The most adventurous of her children took advantage of the climatic improvements and journeyed ever northwards to join the great movement of hunters across the plains of France. We know that they reached England around 12,000 years ago because DNA recovered from a young male skeleton found in Gough's Cave in Somerset shows that he too belonged to the clan of Helena.

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