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Human Evolution
Genes, Genealogies and Phylogenies

  • Date Published: September 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107040120
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About the Authors
  • Controversy over human evolution remains widespread. However, the human genome project and genetic sequencing of many other species have provided myriad precise and unambiguous genetic markers that establish our evolutionary relationships with other mammals. Human Evolution: Genes, Genealogies and Phylogenies identifies and explains these identifiable, rare and complex markers including endogenous retroviruses, genome-modifying transposable elements, gene-disabling mutations, segmental duplications and gene-enabling mutations. The new genetic tools also provide fascinating insights into when and how many features of human biology arose: from aspects of placental structure, vitamin C dependence and trichromatic vision, to tendencies to gout, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Bringing together a decade's worth of research and tying it together to provide an overwhelming argument for the mammalian ancestry of the human species, the book will be of interest to professional scientists and students in both the biological and biomedical sciences.

    • Examines how genome sequencing projects bring to light new insights into human evolutionary history
    • Identifies the genetic markers that establish our evolutionary relationships with other mammals, including endogenous retroviruses, genome-modifying transposable elements, gene-disabling mutations, segmental duplications and gene enabling mutations
    • Provides fascinating insights into when and how many features of human biology arose
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this book Dr Finlay takes several examples to illustrate our evolutionary tree at the molecular and genomic level. Step by step he provides a wealth of cumulative evidence that demonstrates how our genomes are related to other primates and to our more distant biological relatives. The evidence is compelling and shows the elegant ways in which we are connected to the rest of biology. Nonetheless we are more than just intelligent apes, and Finlay is careful to emphasise that our genomes are only part of the story of what it means to be human and that we have also been shaped by historical, cultural and religious factors that may not affect our physiology and anatomy but define us a human beings.' Keith R. Fox, University of Southampton

    'Graeme Finlay has written a remarkable book outlining some of the most powerful evidence for human evolution - our own genes. Many people today have heard scientists say that evolution is a fact and that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. Finlay demonstrates without any doubt whatsoever why this is the case. He has a wide grasp of the primary scientific literature and offers general readers an accessible introduction to the complexities of modern genetics. He deals with the fundamental topics of retroviruses, jumping genes, pseudogenes, and the origin of new genes during evolution … [He] is fully aware of the challenges that human evolution presents to religious people. With sensitivity, he encourages them not to fear the evolutionary evidence, but to embrace it [in] all its splendor and wondrous glory. For me, reading Finlay's book was a spiritual experience. I highly recommend [it].' Denis O. Lamoureux, University of Alberta

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    Customer reviews

    09th Dec 2013 by KeithFurman

    Its here at last! I believe this book is destined to be a real game-changer in resolving the unfortunate science/faith controversy and in enabling those who cannot accept evolution to come to terms with it and gain wonderful new perspectives on it as a marvelous reality of our world, but without having atheistic conclusions preached to them by the author, as is common in so many other books on evolution. If, like me, you HAVE to definitively know whether the evidence for evolution is persuasive and you have some background in biology, there is no more definitive evidence than the new molecular evidence since the Human Genome Project and you will not find a better book on that evidence than this one. It is well worth the price of this Cambridge University Press hardback and the effort to understand the evidence that I believe puts the question to rest. Dr. Finlay has been lecturing on this topic for years. Now he has painstakingly organized the evidence for us in this book. I have other books out there on this topic but none that goes into such detail on the inheritance trail of endogenous retroviruses ERVs that have inserted themselves into our DNA and have been inherited in our genomes. This is THE line of evidence that I finally found to be overwhelmingly convincing after over 34 years as a scientific creationist initially YEC. Knowing it and hearing it from Graeme Finlay enabled me to turn the corner. As one who is educated to the PhD level in the biological sciences and a former complex biotech Patent Examiner for many years with experience in genetically engineered and recombinant DNA and protein inventions, I can tell you, even if there was no other evidence for evolution not saying there isnt, this line of evidence alone would force a conclusion that we evolved from a common ancestor with the other primates. Dr. Finlay makes that clear. A whopping 8% of our human DNA comes from these virus insertions. That, per se, is neither here nor there in terms of evidence for evolution. But, exactly where individual viruses were inserted and in what species has left a telltale trail of inheritance that definitively shows our relationship to those other species and descent from a common ancestor. And it makes no sense to argue that God would have inserted virus sequences to make it look just like an inheritance trail! The standard arguments against this line of evidence are clearly and effectively addressed by Dr. Finlay using the latest research findings. While written for anyone wanting to understand this line of evidence, this is also a book for nobly-minded Christians who are investigating the evidence for evolution and who want to hear it from a informed scientist who is also a profound Christian instead of one who reaches atheistic conclusions from the scientific data. Understand this evidence from Dr. Graeme Finlay and you will have a spiritual experience rather than a reason to question faith in light of an evolutionary paradigm. If new to the topic, you may want to get a primer first by watching or listening to Dr. Graeme Finlays talks available at the Multimedia site of Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. @EvoCreatn on Twitter

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107040120
    • length: 368 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • contains: 101 b/w illus. 11 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Retroviral genealogy
    2. Jumping genealogy
    3. Pseudogenealogy
    4. The origins of new genes
    Epilogue: what really makes us human

  • Author

    Graeme Finlay, University of Auckland
    Graeme Finlay is Senior Lecturer in Scientific Pathology at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

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