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Thread: Book Review: Adam's Curse: A Future without Men

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    Post Book Review: Adam's Curse: A Future without Men

    Editorial Reviews


    Adam's Curse: A Future without Men (Hardcover)
    by Bryan Sykes

    amazon.com
    Bryan Sykes follows up The Seven Daughters of Eve with the equally challenging and well-written Adam's Curse. This time, instead of following humanity's heritage back to the first women, Sykes looks forward to a possible future without men. The seeds of the book's topics were sown when Sykes met a pre-eminent pharmaceutical company chairman who shared his surname. Using the Y chromosome, which is passed nearly unchanged from father to son, the author found that he shared a distant ancestor with the other Sykes. Along the way, he discovered that the Y chromosome was worth examining more closely. The first third of Adam's Curse is devoted to a clear and comprehensive lesson about genetics, the second narrates several fascinating stories of tracing ancestry via the Y chromosome, and the last chapters explore the history of male humanity and its future. Some readers will eagerly skim until they reach Chapter 21, where Sykes gets to the heart of the matter--why and how the Y chromosome has created a world where men overwhelmingly own the wealth and power, commit the crimes, and fight the wars. He uses the structural puniness of the Y chromosome to demonstrate that men are as unnecessary biologically as they are dominant socially. Sykes' provocative and quite personal book is likely to be unpopular among science readers who prefer their biology divorced from sociology, but his points taken in context will be difficult to refute. --Therese Littleton

    From 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.
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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    Post Re: Adam's Curse: A Future without Men-Book review

    Have you read the book too? If so, what are your thoughts on it, or your thoughts on the two reviews? It sounds interesting, and I have heard of it before.
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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    Post Re: Adam's Curse: A Future without Men-Book review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer
    Have you read the book too? If so, what are your thoughts on it, or your thoughts on the two reviews? It sounds interesting, and I have heard of it before.

    Not yet...
    This book will stay with me probably in the next month.

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    Cool Re: Adam's Curse: A Future without Men-Book review

    I suspect this book is alot of nonsense. If men become extinct so will women, just as men would become extinct without women. Besides mitochondrial DNA has nothing to do specifically with the X chromosome . The mitochondrial is the part of humans cell that generate the power to allow those cells to function. It has its own DNA seperate from the nucleus of the cell it is powering. Mitochrondrial is passed from mother to child so mitochrondrial DNA is useful in tracing matrilineal ancestry. Sperm contains the mitochrondrial of the father but is discarded at conception and is not passed on to the embryo. For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_DNA

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    Post Re: Adam's Curse: A Future without Men-Book review

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo-Hoosier
    I suspect this book is alot of nonsense. If men become extinct so will women, just as men would become extinct without women. Besides mitochondrial DNA has nothing to do specifically with the X chromosome . The mitochondrial is the part of humans cell that generate the power to allow those cells to function. It has its own DNA seperate from the nucleus of the cell it is powering. Mitochrondrial is passed from mother to child so mitochrondrial DNA is useful in tracing matrilineal ancestry. Sperm contains the mitochrondrial of the father but is discarded at conception and is not passed on to the embryo. For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_DNA
    How does this information contradict anything mentioned in the reviews of the book? I do not see any contradictions.
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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    Post Re: Adam's Curse: A Future without Men-Book review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer
    How does this information contradict anything mentioned in the reviews of the book? I do not see any contradictions.
    1. " Men are unnecessary biologically as they are dominant socially". Men are biologically necessary to perpetuate the species, as are women.

    2. Mitochrondrial DNA has nothing to do with the X chromosone. Men have XY, the X coming from the mother. Women have XX, one from the father and one from the mother. Daughters will inherit their fathers X chromosone unchanged, but sons & daughters inherit an X chromosone different from either of the mothers X chromosones.Its been awhile since I had high school biology but I remenber being taught that the 23 chromosones in the egg each has a 50% recombination of the genes in the mothers chromosonal pairs. Ditto for the father's sperm except in the 23rd pair because the X & Y chromosones are unable to exchange genetic material. This is why the Y chromosone passes from father to son unchanged, except for rare mutations, and daughters will recieve an unchanged X chromosome from their father but pass a different X chromosone to their own children. However persons sharing common matrilineal descent will have identical mitochrondrial DNA. It is passed on maternally but is inherited by both sons & daughters so were is the advantage in mitochrondrial DNA favoring the X chromosone over the Y chromosone.

    3. "Declining sperm counts and high percentages of abnormal sperm." This could be due more to modern lifestyles and enviromental reasons (chemicals in just about everything we eat or use, hormones given to livestock,) more obesity or STDs, then anything genetic. Infertility has increased for both men & women in the last century.

    This book probably has some informative information , but claiming men are going extinct is nonsense, basically a gimick to sell to publicize this book.

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