By Adam Rutherford
for the reason that scientists first learn the human genome in 2001, it's been topic to all types of claims, counterclaims, and myths. in truth, as Adam Rutherford explains, our genomes can be learn no longer as guide manuals, yet as epic poems. DNA determines a long way below we now have been ended in think approximately us as members, yet tremendously extra approximately us as a species.
during this eye-catching trip during the increasing panorama of genetics, Adam Rutherford finds what our genes now let us know approximately heritage, and what heritage tells us approximately our genes. From Neanderthals to homicide, from redheads to race, lifeless kings to plague, evolution to epigenetics, it is a demystifying and illuminating new portrait of who we're and the way we got here to be.
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Additional info for A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes
9 billion years. The species Homo sapiens, of which you are a member, emerged a mere 200,000 years ago in the east of Africa. Writing began about 6,000 years ago, in Mesopotamia, somewhere in what we now call the Middle East. For comparison, the book you are holding is around 111,000 words, or 660,000 characters long, including spaces. If the length of time life has existed on Earth were represented as this book, each character, including spaces, is around 5,909 years. . the precise length of this phrase.
Today, you’d be hard pushed to call it a bush, shrub or anything arboreal at all. Instead, it is represented in graphical form as more of a set of upside down dribbly blobs running upwards into the pool that is us, streams, rivers and rivulets, some running into the ocean, others petering out en route (see overleaf). An alternative version is to place the specimens in their species clusters on a chart, oldest at the bottom, us the sole survivors at the top, the width showing the geography of where all the bones were found, and you must accept that the lines between them are dotted, meaning hypothetical.
We once spoke of blood and bloodlines as a means of tying us to our ancestors and describing our familial selves. It’s no longer in the blood, it is in our genes. DNA has become a byword for destiny, or a seam running through us that seals our fates. But it is not. All scientists think that their field is the one that is least well represented in the media, but I’m a scientist and a writer, and I believe that human genetics stands out above all as one destined to be misunderstood, I think because we are culturally programmed to misunderstand it.