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been found (though the number is growing by several hundred a month) and partly because the great majority of them are tedious biochemical middle managers.

But what I can give you is a coherent glimpse of the whole: a whistle-stop tour of some of the more interesting sites in the genome and what they tell us about ourselves. For we, this lucky generation, will be the first to read the book that is the genome. Being able to read the genome will tell us more about our origins, our evolution, our nature and our minds than all the efforts of science to date. It will revolutionise anthropology, psychology, medicine, palaeontology and virtually every other science. This is not to claim that everything is in the genes, or that genes matter more than other factors. Clearly, they do not. But they matter, that is for sure.

This is not a book about the Human Genome Project — about mapping and sequencing techniques - but a book about what that project has found. Some time in the year 2000, we shall probably have a rough first draft of the complete human genome. In just a few short years we will have moved from knowing almost nothing about our genes to knowing everything. I genuinely believe that we are living through the greatest intellectual moment in history. Bar none. Some may protest that the human being is more than his genes. I do not deny it. There is much, much more to each of us than a genetic code. But until now human genes were an almost complete mystery. We will be the first generation to penetrate that mystery. We stand on the brink of great new answers but, even more, of great new questions. This is what I have tried to convey in this book.

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