Adam's Curse: A Future Without Men

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The inside story of the Y chromosome's fatal flaw, as told by one of the world's leading geneticists.Male reproductive fragility has been the subject of much highly publicized recent research. Is it possible, asked the New York Times, that men face extinction? Bryan Sykes examines the validity of these shocking reports, focusing on the defining characteristic of men: the Y chromosome in their DNA. Guiding his readers through chapters like "The Blood of Vikings" and "Ribbons of Life," Sykes masterfully blends ...
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Overview

The inside story of the Y chromosome's fatal flaw, as told by one of the world's leading geneticists.Male reproductive fragility has been the subject of much highly publicized recent research. Is it possible, asked the New York Times, that men face extinction? Bryan Sykes examines the validity of these shocking reports, focusing on the defining characteristic of men: the Y chromosome in their DNA. Guiding his readers through chapters like "The Blood of Vikings" and "Ribbons of Life," Sykes masterfully blends natural history with scientific fact, elucidating the biology of sexual reproduction, modern genetics, and evolutionary biology. He reveals that, while the Y chromosome makes man's existence possible, it also carries within it the seeds of his destruction. Timely and fascinating, this major work covers a wealth of controversial topics, including whether there is a genetic cause for male greed, aggression, and promiscuity; the possible existence of a male homosexual gene; and what, if anything, can be done to save men from a slow, but certain, extinction.

Author Biography: Bryan Sykes is professor of genetics at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University and the author of the national bestseller The Seven Daughters of Eve. He lives in England.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Well-known Oxford geneticist Sykes (The Seven Daughters of Eve), in this lively and thought-provoking book, gives a genetic twist to the battle between the sexes. All human existence, he says, stems from the battle between the X and Y chromosomes to further their own reproduction at the expense of the other. The Y chromosome is passed on only by fathers, while mitochondrial DNA is passed on only by mothers. Sykes shows that many members of several Scottish clans (most notably the Macdonalds) can be traced via their Y chromosomes back to a common ancestor. Researchers have also been able to trace the extent of Viking settlement and intermarriage in the British Isles and northern Europe through Y chromosome distribution. Sykes's argument for a genetic role in homosexuality will undoubtedly be controversial. Using Dean Hamer's pedigrees, he claims that evidence points less to a "gay gene" than to mitochondrial DNA playing the leading role in a Machiavellian plot to further its own reproduction. Sykes concludes by noting that, as evidenced by declining sperm counts and high percentages of abnormal sperm, among other variables, the Y chromosome is a genetic mess and is deteriorating so quickly that men could become extinct. Those who find that a happy thought will want to snap up this book, as well as readers interested in learning what our chromosomes tell us about where we came from and where we may be headed. 6 illus. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780593050040
  • Publisher: Unknown Publisher
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Pages: 320

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Prologue 1
1 The Original Mr Sykes 5
2 The Lonely Chromosome 19
3 Ribbons of Life 31
4 The Last Embrace 41
5 Sex and the Single Chromosome 47
6 How to Make a Man 60
7 Sex Tips from Fish 74
8 Why Bother with Sex? 80
9 The Ideal Republic 91
10 The Sense of Sex 103
11 The Separation of the Sexes 108
12 A War on Two Fronts 118
13 A Rage to Persuade 122
14 Men of the World 129
15 Blood of the Vikings 150
16 The Y-chromosome of Somhairle Mor 163
17 The Great Khan 183
18 The Old School Register 188
19 The Eleven Daughters of Tracy Lewis 205
20 The Slaughter of the Innocents 221
21 The Rise of the Tyrant 225
22 The Sperm of Tara 242
23 The Gay Gene Revisited 254
24 Gaia's Revenge 274
25 Lifting the Curse 282
Index 307
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2004

    Fascinating and Accessible

    I couldn't put this one down. The author untangles the mysteries of the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA to show that actual genes, not only living organisms, compete for survival. He shows how mitochondrial DNA can be used to trace a family line back hundreds of generations, and how some women appear to have DNA that fights for survival by causing the women in the family to produce offspring of only one gender or the other. He suggests that the decay of the 'Y' chromosome over the millennia may ultimately lead to a situation where males are extinct. (And, NO, you do not have to be a radical lesbian separatist to find this concept very interesting.) You don't have to be a whiz at genetics to enjoy this one. I certainly am not.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2004

    Easy to understand, even entertaining

    The contents were written in a very reader friendly style, and easy to understand. He explained the various aspects of the genes, X and Y Chromosome from thier discovery, their physical characteristics to their effects on the human history. Although sometimes I find Mr. Sykes a little too long winded, it is still a very interesting book to be read by anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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