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A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through… (2016)

de Adam Rutherford

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6632125,857 (4.01)43
This is a story about you. It is the history of who you are and how you came to be. It is unique 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 sorts of claims, counterclaims and myths. 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 captivating 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.… (més)
Afegit fa poc perbiblioteca privada, leslie.emery, mikec42, Daundelyon, anttih, jvgravy, Hpriley3, adnibe, benitastrnad, litxt
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Es mostren 1-5 de 21 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Remarkably Interesting
Likability: ★★★
Depth: ★★★★


Picking up a book that is all about the human genome (where we came from and where we are going) seems, at first, to be a bit overwhelming.

But, Adam Rutherford has managed to make it delightfuly interesting. It is incredible the number of misconceptions that I had put into my mind through culture, education, and what I used to refer to as "common sense" that have been blown away. This book does a great job of dispelling the rumors and explaining the truth behind our DNA.

You should read this book if a college course entitled "Genetics 101: The Fun Edition" would interest you.

You should also read this if you are a Creationist still believing that evolution is not real. It is still perfectly well and good to believe that God made everything. But Science can tell us HOW God did it (if you are prone to see things that way.)

It is a reasonably advanced read, so high school and above seems appropriate. It can best be described as a fun-to-read textbook. ( )
  davehamptonusa | Nov 19, 2020 |
Genetisch onderzoek heeft de laatste 30 jaar een hoge vlucht genomen. Een voorlopig hoogtepunt was de beschrijving van het menselijk genoom, in 2003. Maar sindsdien stond de sector uiteraard niet stil. Er gaat tegenwoordig geen dag meer voorbij of er worden door genetici spectaculaire ontdekkingen of doorbraken gemeld in het onderzoek naar en de bestrijding van ziekten. Dat is uiteraard erg positief.
Dit boek van publicist Adam Rutherford, zelf een specialist in evolutionaire genetica, zet alles eens op een rijtje, of tenminste, geeft een stand van zaken op het moment van de publicatie van dit boek, in 2016, intussen alweer 4 jaar geleden. Geen gemakkelijke taak, want genetica blijkt toch een stuk ingewikkelder in elkaar te zitten dan je zou denken. Rutherford gaat daarom in kleine stapjes te werk, en bewandelt geregeld zijpaden waarin hij wel eens op bepaalde technische aspecten ingaat. Dat maakt dit boek af en toe wat breedvoerig, maar op het einde krijg je wel naar mijn gevoel een erg informatief beeld.
Enkele van de interessante weetjes. Dat een mens amper 20.000 genen telt, veel minder dan verwacht, en minder dan bijvoorbeeld een banaan of een rijstkorrel. Dat het Human Genome Project maar een beperkte uitlezing gaf van de menselijke genetica gaf en dat er nog altijd hele gebieden in het menselijke genoom zijn waar de onderzoekers niet van weten welke functie ze precies hebben. Dat er zo goed als geen ziekten bestaan die aan één enkel gen zijn toe te schrijven, integendeel, dat het er alle schijn van heeft dat bij alle mogelijke fenomenen (negatief en positief) telkens verschillende stukken genetisch materiaal betrokken zijn. Dat het zeker geen zin heeft te beweren dat fenomenen als crimineel gedrag, intelligentie, seksuele geaardheid, enzovoort toe te schrijven zijn een bepaald gen. Dat volgens een eenvoudig wiskundig model te berekenen is dat je maar 600 jaar moet terug gaan in de tijd om een voorouder te vinden die alle Europeanen gemeen hebben. En ook belangrijk: dat de privé-firma’s die je genetisch materiaal onderzoeken om je ‘stamboom’ te ontdekken in de meeste gevallen charlatanbedrijven zijn die nikszeggende algemeenheden opdelven.
Maar Rutherford biedt veel meer dan die weetjes. Hij gaat ook in op netelige kwesties zoals de vraag of zoiets als ras een genetische basis heeft, het nature/nurture debat, en of de menselijke evolutie nog altijd aan de gang is. En uiteraard gaat hij regelrecht in tegen de onzin die door creationisten wordt verspreid. Maar opvallend is vooral zijn zeer beredeneerd en genuanceerde verdediging van de wetenschappelijke aanpak, in kleine stapjes, met woord en wederwoord in volle transparantie, en met veel oog voor de beperkingen van de wetenschappelijke methode.
Enkele kleine minpuntjes: Rutherford is af en toe erg breedvoerig en houdt er nogal van anekdotes te verwerken in zijn relaas. Dat bevordert natuurlijk de leesbaarheid, maar ze zijn niet altijd even geslaagd en leiden wel eens af van de essentie. Rutherford is ook nogal Brits gericht: hij haalt vooral Britse studies aan, en focust graag op onderzoeken naar Britse onderdanen. Maar al bij al heb ik dit heel graag gelezen.
Voor het genetisch onderzoek naar de vroegste mensensoorten: zie mijn review in mijn History-account op Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3505415793. ( )
  bookomaniac | Aug 31, 2020 |
Really strong. Couldn't put it down at first. Got to around 92% before I flagged. This actually explained a few genetics concepts that I obviously hadn't fully "got" (during my, er... biology degree and project on genetics) so effectively that I'll be giving this to everyone as Christmas presents. Debunks racial "science", loads of interesting stuff on human origins (with the Neanderthals and Denisovans etc.), some history of science, and evolution. The only part I wasn't so sure of was the "defending science" bit at the end, but that's partly because I don't need convincing as I've seen evidence with my own eyes.

There was recently a trial* showing that teaching genetics before evolution improves understanding, and I think this book would serve very well as the general introduction a layperson needs to both get interested in the subject and lay a foundation for accurately comprehending how evolution works.

*Mead R, Hejmadi M, Hurst LD (2017) Teaching genetics prior to teaching evolution improves evolution understanding but not acceptance. PLoS Biol 15(5): e2002255. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2002255 ( )
  RFellows | Apr 29, 2020 |
Man's history is better told in its DNA than in its artifacts and written word, and best told in the combination of DNA evidence, collected artifacts and other data. Rutherford adds extensive DNA research findings to the already found evidence of artifacts that archaeologists have replied upon for so long. Yet, both DNA and archaeology require stupendous amounts of reasoning, logic, insight, deductive reasoning and supporting details from other data in order to create the most accurate picture of the earlier history of our own species.
This book offers an interesting read about our past, differing with some previous findings and beliefs, presenting some that are seen differently by other writers and adding a lot to the overall understanding of our species' development through time.
Much of science involves deductive reasoning that produces conclusions which are workable but not necessarily accurate. (The strength of science, of course, is that when its previous conclusions ARE found to be inaccurate, they are discarded). One conclusion that the Rutherford's work rests upon is that Homo Neanderthal died out as a separate and distinct species through interbreeding with Homo Sapiens to become the current species of Homo Sapiens we all are. This conclusion is speculative and differs with the one presented and developed in the book "Sapiens", a current best seller and another highly worthwhile book everyone should read.
Rutherford has pieced together a fascinating and engaging read for lay people such as myself that helps make a very complex science-the interpretation of DNA evidence-into a comprehensible contribution to everyone's understanding of our own past.

( )
  Paul-the-well-read | Apr 21, 2020 |
Man's history is better told in its DNA than in its artifacts and written word, and best told in the combination of DNA evidence, collected artifacts and other data. Rutherford adds extensive DNA research findings to the already found evidence of artifacts that archaeologists have replied upon for so long. Yet, both DNA and archaeology require stupendous amounts of reasoning, logic, insight, deductive reasoning and supporting details from other data in order to create the most accurate picture of the earlier history of our own species.
This book offers an interesting read about our past, differing with some previous findings and beliefs, presenting some that are seen differently by other writers and adding a lot to the overall understanding of our species' development through time.
Much of science involves deductive reasoning that produces conclusions which are workable but not necessarily accurate. (The strength of science, of course, is that when its previous conclusions ARE found to be inaccurate, they are discarded). One conclusion that the Rutherford's work rests upon is that Homo Neanderthal died out as a separate and distinct species through interbreeding with Homo Sapiens to become the current species of Homo Sapiens we all are. This conclusion is speculative and differs with the one presented and developed in the book "Sapiens", a current best seller and another highly worthwhile book everyone should read.
Rutherford has pieced together a fascinating and engaging read for lay people such as myself that helps make a very complex science-the interpretation of DNA evidence-into a comprehensible contribution to everyone's understanding of our own past.

( )
  Paul-the-well-read | Apr 21, 2020 |
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Rutherford, Adamautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Garceau, PeteDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mukherjee, SiddharthaPròlegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Science demands collaboration.

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There are no lone geniuses, never evil geniuses, and very rarely any heretical geniuses. Almost all science is done by very ordinary people working in teams or in cahoots with others in similar or dissimilar fields, and they build knowledge on the shoulders of historical and contemporary giants, as Isaac Newton once suggested, parroting the words of the eleventh-century philosopher Bernard of Chartres, who was referencing the Greek myth of the temporarily blinded hunter Orion, who saw further by sitting a dwarf on his shoulders.

Author's note.
Species is a definition also riven with problems, but the most accepted form is that two species are defined as distinct when they are incapable of producing fertile offspring together. Zebroids, ligers, mules, hinnies, grolar bears* are all relatively rare, relatively heathy hybrids. But none produce fertile offspring of their own. Soon, we shall see why this species definition for humans is not at all adequete.

*Zebra with any other equine animal; male lion with a lady tiger; jack donkey with a female horse; jenny donkey with a male horse; polar bear with a grizzly - rare but presumably utterly terrifying.

1. Horny and mobile.
Yet there is virtually no trace of the Danes in the British genome. [...] Their first interactions with the Brits were piratical parties, with assumed rape and pillage, yet the former left no genetic trace. Like the Romans before them, it seems those Vikings wielded their power from above, absolute Cnuts and Haralds ruling from the top down, with no enduring relations with their subjects.

2. The first European union.
Rome petered out, and upon that rock Christianity grew.

2. The first European union.
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This is a story about you. It is the history of who you are and how you came to be. It is unique 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 sorts of claims, counterclaims and myths. 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 captivating 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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