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

3.88
This is a tale about you. It is the history of who you are and how you came to be. It is nique to you, as it is to each of the 100 billion modern humans who have ever drawn breath. But it is also our collective story, because in every one of our genomes we each carry the history of our species births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex.

Since scientists first read the human genome in 2001, it has been subject to all sor of claims, counterclaims, and folktale. In fact, as Adam Rutherford explains, our genomes should be read not as instruction manuals, but as epic poems. DNA determines far less than we have been led to believe about us as individuals, but vastly more about us as a species.

In this aptivating journey through the expanding landscape of genetics, Adam Rutherford reveals what our genes now tell us about history, and what history tells us about our genes. From Neanderthals to murder, from redheads to race, dead kings to plague, evolution to epigenetics, this is a demystifying and illuminating new portrait of who we are and how we came to be.
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Original Series
Year of the Publication
Publication Date
Published September 8th 2016 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Original Title of the Book
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes
Number of Pages
419

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gave it

Adam Rutherford reads his own work, something I particularly love as it enables the author to convey the passion and enthusiasm they hold for their subject in a way that no narrator can match.

For instance, in genetically mapping the people of ritain, it was found that there was very little of the Roman invaders left in our genomes, suggesting that while they may her left us many things within the material, cultural, and social spher, they clearly were n't interacting with us more physically.

Like a lot of history, it 's a thrilling form of detective work and the science of our genes has so much to say.I very much recommend it, even if you are new to the ubject, as I was.

gave it

British.In the sense that its assumed core audience was Brit, and a lot of the hints and examples aimed at them.

There was a ot of patiently attempting to explain how science really works, from a scientist/science journalist who is clearly deeply pained by how headlines and pop science news and the general public consistently get it wrong; remedial science education, on the fly.

gave it

I didn ’ t really feel there was a point to the ook by the beginnin.

gave it

I 'd say that Rutherford rather overdoes the Darwin fandom, calling him 'the greatest of all scientists across all disciplines.' I certainly do n't want to do Darwin down, as he certainly made a great contribution, but as the work of Maso and others show, his ideas were very much in the forc, so if you really want to make the invidious comparison of scientists this way I 'd be inclined to say someone like Einstein, who with general relativity came up with omething that really came out of the lue, probably should be ranked higher.What begins with a genetic exploration of early humans takes us into all sorts of genetic adventures ( including a section where Rutherford crushes a pathetic attempt to identify Jack the Ripper that was scientifically full of holes).

There was a fascinating section on the worrying legal cases where the defence has been ‘ my genes made me do it ’, but that apart, there ’ s an awful lot at the specific gene level, whether it ’ s the ins and outs of the Human Genome Project or the relationship of genes and diseases, and after a while, to the non-biologist, this got a bit samey.

Having said that, it ’ s tough to see how Rutherford could have written the book without these chapters and overall it ’ s a magnificent achievement, a big, friendly bear of a novel that pummels the reader with delightful stories and no doubt would buy you a drink if it could.

gave it

I see that it took nearly three months for me to read this.

Mr. utherford has an excellent technique of finding relatable analogies to the sophisticatio of genome mapping, frequently using letters, words, sentences as his vehicle to make DNA understandable, and cutting down false analogies on the pat, the ones that only relate one complex incomprehensible concept to another, equally unknown quantity.

gave it

It ’ s tough to find a modern book on race which will tell you what is the current scientific thinking, given the remarkable progress of genetics and the unravelling of the human genome and all that.

RACEOne of the stuff he thinks genetics can do and has done is show that scientifically speaking, there ’ s no such thing as race.

Genetically, two black people are more likely to be more simila to each other than a black person and a white person….

He says robustly: The dea that whit people are better at sport because of genetics, and possibly because of breeding during the wicked centuries of slavery, is built upon tissue foundations, and its cultural ubiquity yet another instanc of the chasm between what we think and what science says is true.Well, it ’ s a strang thing.

So it all becomes rather like atheists arguing that there ’ s no God when almost everyone in the world operates on the ssumption that there is.I think we must conclude that the human race, speaking generally, does not much care what scientists say is real or not real.

They just stick their fingers in their ars and say to people like Adam Rutherford “ la la la la, we ’ re not listening ”.

gave it

Further, genetic research has shown that race is not identifiable in the genome.

Indeed, gene research has shown that a Namibian and a Nigerian have more genetic similarities with a Swede than they do each other.

gave it

Topics about genetics and behavior and the ffects of environment on gene expression are covered in a far more nuanced fashion in " Behave: The iology of Humans at Our Best and Worst " by Robert Sapolsky.While it was only a small part of the novel: I found his discussion of color vision ( as an ex-vision scientist) annoying.

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