The Mysterious World of the Human Genome

  • by Frank Ryan
  • Narrated by Matt Bates
  • 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

How could a relatively simple chemical code give rise to the complexity of a human being? How could our human genome have evolved? And how does it actually work?
Your genome defines you at the most profound level. That same genome is present in every one of the approximately 100,000 billion cells that make you who you are as an individual member of the human species. An important ingredient of the genome, and its essential nature, is memory - the memory of the entirety of every individual human's genetic inheritance.
But how, exactly, does it perform this remarkable feat of memory? We know that this wonder chemical we call DNA works like a code. But how could any code recall the complex instructions that go into the making of cells and tissues and organs and, once made, allow them to function as a coordinated whole that comprises the human being?
All of this might be encompassed in a minuscule cluster of chemicals, including but not exclusive to the master molecule we call DNA. This chemical code somehow records the genetic instructions for ‘making' us. Built in to that code must also be the potential for individual liberty of thought and inventiveness, enabling human artistic, mathematical and scientific creativity. It gives rise to what each of us thinks innately as our individual ‘self'. Somehow that same construction of ‘self' made possible the genius of Mozart, Picasso, Newton and Einstein. It is little wonder that we look at the repository of such potential with awe. And unsurprisingly we hope to uncover the mystery that lies at the very core of our being.
In this groundbreaking new book, Frank Ryan leads us into a series of remarkable revelations about our human history, into the very distant past of our ancestors' lives and their prehistoric exploration of our beautiful planet, revealing the true secrets to the human genome which makes each of us who we are. Only recently have we come to understand the human genome in sufficient depth and subtlety to be able to put together its marvellous story - and to discover that there is rather more to it than DNA alone.


What the Critics Say

"Extremely well written.... Frank Ryan has the page-turning and spine-chilling ability of a good novelist." (Matt Ridley, Sunday Telegraph)
"Very good at making technical matters comprehensible to the lay reader but more impressive still is the way he conveys the intellectual excitement and elation of scientific discovery." (Literary Review)
"Ryan takes us through the drama of discovery and challenges the notion that certain questions are too appalling to contemplate." (New Scientist)
"Ryan's book should have a great appeal to non-scientists and could become a significant instrument in policy formation...spellbinding, intellectually adventurous, difficult to put down." (Nature)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


For me it got boring over the chapters and I found the 'imaginary train' as really cheesy and annoying. Even though it was supposed to be simple,I found it hard to follow.
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Book Details

  • Release Date: 18-06-2015
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited