Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA / Edition 1

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Overview

Since the publication in 1859 of Darwin's Origin of Species, debate over the theory of evolution has been continuous and often impassioned. In recent years, opponents of "Darwin's dangerous idea" have mounted history's most sophisticated and generously funded attack, claiming that evolution is "a theory in crisis." Ironically, these claims are being made at a time when the explosion of information from genome projects has revealed the most compelling and overwhelming evidence of evolution ever discovered. Much of the latest evidence of human evolution comes not from our genes, but from so-called "junk DNA," leftover relics of our evolutionary history that make up the vast majority of our DNA.

Relics of Eden explores this powerful DNA-based evidence of human evolution. The "relics" are the millions of functionally useless but scientifically informative remnants of our evolutionary ancestry trapped in the DNA of every person on the planet. For example, the analysis of the chimpanzee and Rhesus monkey genomes shows indisputable evidence of the human evolutionary relationship with other primates. Over 95 percent of our genome is identical with that of chimpanzees and we also have a good deal in common with other animal species.

Author Daniel J. Fairbanks also discusses what DNA analysis reveals about where humans originated. The diversity of DNA sequences repeatedly confirms the archeological evidence that humans originated in sub-Saharan Africa (the "Eden" of the title) and from there migrated through the Middle East and Asia to Europe, Australia, and the Americas.

In conclusion, Fairbanks confronts the supposed dichotomy between evolution and religion, arguingthat both science and religion are complementary ways to seek truth. He appeals to the vast majority of Americans who hold religious convictions not to be fooled by the pseudoscience of Creationists and Intelligent Design advocates and to abandon the false dichotomy between religion and real science.

This concise, very readable presentation of recent genetic research is completely accessible to the nonspecialist and makes for enlightening and fascinating reading.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brilliantly conceived, this excellent book shows how DNA sequences confirm the fact of human evolution. Wide ranging though not superficial, detailed though not technical, filled with fresh examples and engaging vignettes, the book is respectful of dissenting opinions but leaves literal creationists with no place to hide." —Daniel Hartl, Higgins Professor of Biology, Harvard University

"What an exciting surprise! Instead of the usual embryos and fossils, Fairbanks uses new molecular evidence. And he zeros in on a major controversy, the origin of humans and our relation to other primates. The arguments are presented with unusual clarity and they are overwhelmingly convincing."
—James F. Crow, emeritus professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and author of Genetics Notes

"As Fairbanks sensibly reminds us, there is a time and place for science and for religion, both of which enrich the human experience. Anyone who is troubled by the seeming dichotomy between the two modes of inquiry may gain perspective and comfort from this fine book, which should be supplemental reading in every biology classroom." —Cecie Starr, author of Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591025641
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 402,573
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel J. Fairbanks is a distinguished university professor, research geneticist, artist, and author. He is the coauthor (with A. Franklin, A.W.F. Edwards, D.L. Hartl, and T. Seidenfeld) of The Mendel-Fisher Controversy, and (with W. R. Andersen) of Genetics: The Continuity of Life in addition to numerous journal articles.
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Table of Contents


Preface     7
Introduction     11
Fusion     17
McClintock's Masterpiece     31
Bogus Genes     47
Solving the Trichotomy     61
Darwinian DNA     73
A Spectacular Confirmation     87
Diversity     103
The Tree of Life     121
"When Faith and Reason Clash"     133
Abandoning the Dichotomy     161
Introduction to the Appendices     173
The Story of NANOG and Its Pseudogenes     177
Nine Inversions     189
From Darwin to the Human Genome: A Brief History     207
Glossary     245
Bibliography     253
Index     269
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    A Great Book

    This is a great book for two reasons: It provides a clearly presented explanation of how our DNA relates to our evolutionary development, and it presents an enormous amount of evidence that can be used against creationists and proponents of intelligent design. It has been frequently said that humans and chimpanzees have very similar DNA. This book shows just how similar they are, and it presents a spectacular example that pretty well proves that humans and chimps had a common ancestor--an example that the creationists cannot rationally refute. Humans have 23 chromosomes, whereas chimpanzees have 24. That difference in number is the result of two of the chromosomes that were in the common ancestor having combined at one of the ends of each into one chromosome in the human line, thus reducing the total number in the human line. The evidence for this is to be found not only in the similarity in the DNA of the combined human chromosome when it is compared with the two chimpanzee chromosomes, but also in the remnants of the currently nonfunctioning telomeres and one of the centromeres that were originally in the two ancestral chromosomes. Those telomeres, which normally would be found at the ends of the chromosomes, and the centromere are in the exact locations within the the human chromosome if the chromosome had its origin in the two chromosomes of the common ancestor. On top of that, the functioning centromere in the chromosome is in the exact location of the other centromere in the chimp chromosome.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2014

    This is a very readable book on how genetic evidence supports ev

    This is a very readable book on how genetic evidence supports evolution. Anyone interested in evolution should read
    this book. The explanations are very clear and helpful. Really worth having in your library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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