Abraham Lincoln's DNA and Other Adventures in Genetics / Edition 1

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Twenty-four true, wide-ranging tales of crime, history, human behavior, illness, and ethics, told from the personal perspective of the author, an eminent physician-lawyer who uses the stories to illustrate the principles of human genetics and to discuss the broader issues.

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Editorial Reviews

USA Today
Reilly uses Abraham Lincoln's DNA to teach the science's basics....But Reilly's pace is always fast, and his descriptive owners are a joy....In the end, Reilly argues that learning how genes work may be the easy part. Understanding and living with the consequences may be the harder part.
American Scientist
The technical complexity of genetics, one of the obstacles to public understanding, is a veil that can be penetratedby good writing: for example, by interesting stories about people and practical uses of genetics. In this spirit, Philip Reilly contributes 24 lovely essays about diverse uses of genetic technologies in Abraham Lincoln's DNA...designed well for use in teaching or public speaking.
New England Journal of Medicine
The 21st century has begun with an overwhelming outpouring of advances in molecular biology and genetics, and the medical profession has only started to wrestle with the many social and moral questions posed by the startling progress in these fields. Indeed, as Philip Reilly suggests in this straightforward and readable collection of intertwined essays social as a whole must confront these questions. For laypeople and professionals alike who yearn for a better understanding of genetically engineered crops, DNA fingerprinting, cloning, or gene therapy, here is a valuable addition to a small but critical literature that will frame our public discourse as we decide how to use he burgeoning knowledge of the genome.
Genetical Research
This enjoyable and readable book consists of 24 essays, four under each of 6 subjects that cover an impressive range of genetic topics, all currently of headline-making importance. The book is written to be accessible to the layperson but it contains much to illuminate undergraduate lectures and most students will learn a great deal from it. It will appeal to a varied readership and it is strongly recommended. ...The author's first hand experience of ethical and public policy issues means that the book is full of fascinating examples gleaned from his exposure to genetic controversy.
Explains the latest theories and advances in the study of human genes and the implications for society. Describes cases in which DNA testing has solved historical mysteries and criminal cases, and discusses what is known about the relationship between genes and mental illness, personality, and sexual preference, and physical illness such as cancer and diabetes. Discusses ethical questions regarding genetic screening and gene therapy, and predicts how advances in the field will affect our private lives and society. Reilly is CEO of Interleukin Genetics, Inc. He is also president of the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
Abraham Lincoln's DNA And Other Adventures In Genetics is a fascinating and informative collection of twenty-four stories about history, justice, human behavior, plants, animals, diseases, and ethical dilemmas as reflected in the rapidly evolving science of genetics. The title story refers to the question of whether or not Abraham Lincoln had the tissue disorder known as Marfan syndrome and the committee that considered testing his DNA to find out. The committee decided not to. But DNA was used to establish that the Russian royal family did indeed all die in a mass grave. DNA profiling has also become an established means of identifying crime suspects. Reilly tells these illustrative stories with a genuine flair that not relates engaging accounts, but also teaches fundamental facts and principles in the science of genetics. Abraham Lincoln's DNA And Other Adventures is very highly recommended for both students and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in genetics and how this fledgling science is beginning to exert a powerful influence on our public health, culture, and community.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879696498
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
  • Publication date: 3/6/2002
  • Series: Science & Society Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 625,028
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents

History: Using DNA to Understand the Past
1. Abraham Lincoln: Did He Have Marfan Syndrome?
2. Kings and Queens: Genetic Disease in Royal Families
3. Toulouse Lautrec: An Artist Despite His Genes
4. Old Bones: DNA and Skeletons

Justice: The DNA Revolution in the Courts
5. DNA Detectives: The New DNA Evidence
6. Cold Hits: The Rise of DNA Felon Databanks
7. Violence: Do Mutations Cause Crime?
8. Wrongful Birth: What Should the Doctor Know?

Behavior: Do Genes Make Us the Way We Are?
9. Mental Illness: How Much Is Genetic?
10. Personality: Were We Born That Way?
11. Talent: Nature or Nurture?
12. Gay Genes: What's the Evidence?

Plants and Animals: Genetic Engineering and Nature
13. Genetically Modified Organisms: The Next Green Revolution?
14. Transgenic Animals: New Food and New Factories
15. Endangered Animals: New Genes to Beat Extinction
16. Xenotransplantation: Animal Organs into Humans

Diseases: The Genetic Revolution in Medicine
17. Cystic Fibrosis: Should Everyone Be Tested?
18. Breast Cancer: The Burden of Knowing
19. Alzheimer Disease: Are You at High Risk?
20. Gene Therapy: The Dreams and the Reality

Dilemmas: Genetic Technologies and Individual Choice
21. Privacy: Who Should be Able to Know Your Genes?
22. Frozen Embryos: People or Property?
23. Cloning: Why is Everyone Opposed?
24. Eugenics: Is it Possible to Improve the Gene Pool?

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    LOVED IT!!!

    This book uses different aspects of DNA to tell numerous compelling short stories, allowing the lay person to easily understand the technical information behind DNA research and advances.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2007


    Wut a fantabulous book..i love abe...i remember when he was president and the day he was assinated was so darn sad..thanks for clearing many things up for me

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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