By Adam Rutherford
for the reason that scientists first learn the human genome in 2001, it's been topic to every type of claims, counterclaims, and myths. actually, as Adam Rutherford explains, our genomes might be learn no longer as guide manuals, yet as epic poems. DNA determines a long way lower than now we have been ended in think approximately us as participants, yet tremendously extra approximately us as a species.
during this alluring trip throughout the increasing panorama of genetics, Adam Rutherford finds what our genes now let us know approximately historical past, and what historical past tells us approximately our genes. From Neanderthals to homicide, from redheads to race, lifeless 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
A genome is much more useful if it can be compared to another, and that includes genomes from other species. So, the original mission of the first creatures to join the genome club aside from us included the most commonly used model organisms – the fly Drosophila melanogaster; the rat and the mouse; our closest ape relative, the chimp; and an oddity, the honey bee, for it is a social beast, and almost all members don’t get to reproduce at all, but serve their queen with whom they share exactly half their DNA.
That process happened every time a human lived; the chain that precedes you is unbroken. They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you. I offer no comment on the psychological or parental aspects of Philip Larkin’s poem, but from a biological point of view, it’s spot on. Each time an egg or sperm is made, the shuffle produces new variation, unique differences in the people that host them. You’ll inherit your parents’ DNA in unique combinations, and in that process – meiosis – you also will have invented some brand new genetic variations, just for you.
Changes in this strange molecule have accumulated and been recorded over time, waiting patiently for millennia for us to discover how to read it. And now we can. Each chapter in this book tells a different story about history and about genetics, of battles lost and won, of invaders, marauders, murder, migration, agriculture, disease, kings and queens, plague, and plenty of deviant sex. Above all, you are holding a history book. Some of the stories here are the history of genetics – with all its own convoluted twists and dark past – included to understand how we know what we now are discovering.
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes by Adam Rutherford