Code of Codes: Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project

Code of Codes: Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project

by Daniel J. Kevles
     
 

The human genome is the key to what makes us human. Composed of the many different genes found in our cells, it defines our possibilities and limitations as members of the species. The ultimate goal of the pioneering project outlined in this book is to map our genome in detail — an achievement that will revolutionize our understanding of human development and

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Overview

The human genome is the key to what makes us human. Composed of the many different genes found in our cells, it defines our possibilities and limitations as members of the species. The ultimate goal of the pioneering project outlined in this book is to map our genome in detail — an achievement that will revolutionize our understanding of human development and the expression of both our normal traits and our abnormal characteristics, such as disease. The Code of Codes is a collective exploration of the substance and possible consequences of this project in relation to ethics, law, and society as well as to science, technology, and medicine.

The many debates on the human genome project are prompted in part by its extraordinary cost, which has raised questions about whether it represents the invasion of biology by the kind of Big Science symbolized by highenergy accelerators. While addressing these matters, this book recognizes that far more than money is at stake. Its intent is not to advance naive paeans for the project but to stimulate thought about the serious issues—scientific, social, and ethical—that it provokes. The Code of Codes comprises incisive essays by stellar figures in a variety of fields, including James D. Watson and Walter Gilbert and the social analysts of science Dorothy Nelkin and Evelyn Fox Keller. An authoritative review of the scientific underpinnings of the project is provided by Horace Freeland Judson, author of the bestselling Eighth Day of Creation.

The book's broad and balanced coverage and the expertise of its contributors make The Code of Codes the most comprehensive and compelling exploration available on this historymaking project.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Another popularization of the Human Genome Project, this one has the distinction of being the first published as an anthology, and among its contributors are some leading scholars, scientists, and social critics. The three parts of the book present essays covering topics in ``History, Politics, and Genetics,'' ``Genetics, Technology, and Medicine,'' and ``Ethics, Law, and Society.'' Some of the essays are quite provocative, especially editor Kevles's ``Out of Eugenics: The Historical Politics of the Human Genome,'' Dorothy Nelkin's ``The Social Power of Genetic Information,'' Ruth Schwartz Conan's ``Genetic Technology and Reproductive Choice,'' and James D. Watson's ``A Personal View of the Project.'' Still, there is a good deal of substantive overlap among the essays and, while the discussions by experts are more sophisticated and specialized than those appearing in other books, little new information is presented for general readers. Public libraries with either Jerry Bishop and Michael Waldholz's Genome ( LJ 7/90) or Robert Shapiro's The Human Blueprint ( LJ 9/1/91) do not need this title, but academic libraries should consider it.-- Gregg Sapp, Montana State Univ. Libs., Bozeman
Booknews
Fourteen contributions (seven based on lectures delivered at Caltech 1989-1990) provide a historical introduction to the project's technical, social, and political background and explore the substance and implications of the project in relation both to genetics, technology, and medicine, and to ethics, law, and society. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674136458
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
05/28/1992
Pages:
408
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.31(d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Kevles is the Stanley Woodward Professor of History and Law at Yale University.

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