By Adam Rutherford

ISBN-10: 0297609378

ISBN-13: 9780297609377

This is a narrative approximately you. it's the heritage of who you're and the way you got here to be. it truly is special to you, because it is to every of the a hundred billion sleek people who've ever drawn breath. however it can be our collective tale, simply because in each of our genomes we each one hold the heritage of our species—births, deaths, affliction, battle, famine, migration, and many sex.

in view that scientists first learn the human genome in 2001, it's been topic to all kinds of claims, counterclaims, and myths. in reality, as Adam Rutherford explains, our genomes can be learn now not as guide manuals, yet as epic poems. DNA determines some distance below now we have been resulted in think approximately us as members, yet greatly extra approximately us as a species.

during this desirable trip during the increasing panorama of genetics, Adam Rutherford finds what our genes now let us know approximately background, and what background tells us approximately our genes. From Neanderthals to homicide, from redheads to race, useless kings to plague, evolution to epigenetics, this can be a demystifying and illuminating new portrait of who we're and the way we got here to be.

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Extra info for A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes

Sample text

The first thing it said was that the DNA plucked from the Neanderthal man was different from all modern human mtDNA. The sequence of the fragments of DNA analysed is different enough to say with some certainty that this part of their genome had separated from the lineages that led to all modern humans well before a common ancestor of all modern humans. DNA changes over time in a relatively predictable manner, like a slowly ticking clock, and so by taking two sequences that are similar but different, we can estimate how long ago they diverged.

Biology is a science of exceptions and endless qualifications, and twenty-two of those pairs are the same as each other (called autosomes), and one of those pairs is not a pair. The pair that is not a pair are the sex chromosomes. I have a Y and an X whereas women have two Xs. Women get one X from each parent, but men only get their Y chromosomes from their fathers. But, though the Y is important for determining maleness, it’s a weedy piece of DNA compared to the others, and makes up very little of the total amount of DNA.

It concerns the tale of who you are and how you came to be. It is your individual story, because the journey of life that alights at your existence is unique, as it is for every person who has ever drawn breath. And it’s also our collective story, because as an ambassador for the whole of our species, you are both typical and exceptional. Despite our differences, all humans are remarkably close relatives, and our family tree is pollarded, and tortuous, and not in the slightest bit like a tree. But we are the fruit thereof.

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A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes by Adam Rutherford


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