The human genome, the complete set of genes in 23 pairs of chromosomes, is nothing less than an autobiography of our species. Spelled out in a billion three-letter words using the four-letter alphabet of DNA, the genome has been edited, abridged, altered and added to as it has been handed down, generation to generation, over more than three billion years. This generation is the first to read this extraordinary book, and to gain hitherto unimaginable insights into what it means to be alive, to be human, to be conscious or to be ill. By picking one newly discovered gene from each of the 23 human chromosomes, and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine.

Buy Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

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You can also buy it from my favourite bookshop Aldeburgh Bookshop

Book Reviews

an elegant reflection on the significance of being able, for the first time in history, to read our own genes. review

A lucid and exhilarating romp through our 23 human chromosomes.

James Watson

As elegant, as unpatronising and lucid as a layman could desire.

Miranda Seymour

An altogether spellbinding read.

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy