Matt Ridley – Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

Matt Ridley – Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

This is an older book, from 1999, and some parts are dated now. It is still excellent. The book has 23 chapters, one for each pair of chromosomes in the human genome. Ironically, this organizational conceit gives Ridley the freedom to take a more scattershot approach. He tells about genes found in each chromosome that affect certain traits. Since our genes were designed without a designer, chromosomes don’t have individual themes, and genes controlling certain traits can be found in multiple chromosomes.

Ridley does what he can with what the material provides him, but this randomness actually makes some of his evolutionary arguments stronger, a fact he takes full advantage of. He also goes on frequent tangents about how a given chromosome’s traits might be useful or not, how they have impacted human history, how they connect various species and common ancestors, how mutations work, and many other concepts in evolutionary biology.

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