from WorldMysteries Website


To suppose that earth is the only populated world in infinite space is as absurd as to believe that in an entire field sown with millet, only one grain will grow.


Metrodorus of Chios
4th century B.C.


A DNA molecule consists of a ladder, formed of sugars and phosphates, and four nucleotide bases:

  • adenine  (A)

  • thymine  (T)

  • cytosine (C)

  • guanine  (G)

The genetic code is specified by the order of the nucleotide bases, and each gene possesses a unique sequence of base pairs. Scientists use these base sequences to locate the position of genes on chromosomes and to construct a map of the entire human genome.

The Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international research program designed to construct detailed genetic and physical maps of the human genome, to determine the complete nucleotide sequence of human DNA, to localize the estimated 50,000-100,000 genes within the human genome, and to perform similar analyses on the genomes of several other organisms used extensively in research laboratories as model systems.


The scientific products of the HGP will comprise a resource of detailed information about the structure, organization and function of human DNA, information that constitutes the basic set of inherited "instructions" for the development and functioning of a human being. Successfully accomplishing these ambitious goals will demand the development of a variety of new technologies.


It will also necessitate advanced means of making the information widely available to scientists, physicians, and others in order that the results may be rapidly used for the public good. Improved technology for biomedical research will thus be another important product of the HGP. From the inception of the HGP, it was clearly recognized that acquisition and use of such genetic knowledge would have momentous implications for both individuals and society and would pose a number of policy choices for public and professional deliberation.


Analysis of the ethical, legal, and social implications of genetic knowledge, and the development of policy options for public consideration are therefore yet another major component of the human genome research effort.

The Human Genome project revealed that human beings have 30,000-40,000 genes. That number is much lower than expected. For example, fruit fly has 13,300 genes, roundworm - 18,300 genes, mustard weed - 25,700 genes.

According to genetic analysis, though, more than 98% of human DNA is identical to chimpanzee DNA. In fact, chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than orangutans and gorillas. "Humans are simply odd looking apes," psychologist Roger Fouts of Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, writes in his 1997 book, Next of Kin: My Conversations With Chimpanzees.

"A traveler from an antique land... lives within us all," claims Sykes, a professor of genetics at Oxford. This unique traveler is mitochondrial DNA, and, as this provocative account illustrates, it can help scientists and archeologists piece together the history of the human race. Find out more by reading this book: The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes.


Controversial Discoveries


A 3.5-million-year-old fossil, flat-faced human from Kenya - Kenyanthropus platy-ops, suggests the human family tree is a lot more complicated than we knew. Implication is clear: More than one species of pre-human was wandering around Africa a few million years ago, and it's anyone's guess which of them evolved into human race.

Fred Spoor

University College, London


Several years ago, spearpoints and other tools of modern man were found under a layer of volcanic ash. When Dr. McIntyre, a member of the U.S. Geological Survey, was invited to date the overlying ash, the archaeologists thought it could be as old as 20,000 years old, pushing the arrival of man in the New World back around 5,000 years.


No one was prepared when uranium series dating and fission tracking methods provided the astounding age of 250,000 years. Dr. McIntyre shares what happened next:

"I thought, okay, we got something big here but I'm going to stick with the dates. I didn't realize it was going to ruin my whole career."


Tree of Life

Mesopotamian "Tree of Life"

The Olmec "Tree of Life" (Mesoamerican Cosmology).
The lineage founder, 2 Grass, is being born from a twisting World Tree.

Detail from Selden Codex page 2. Source: FAMSI

DNA - our modern "Tree of Life"