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Language of Genes: Solving the Mysteries of Our Genetic Past, Present, and Future
     

Language of Genes: Solving the Mysteries of Our Genetic Past, Present, and Future

by Steve Jones
 

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Displaying a remarkable ability to illustrate complex ideas simply, geneticist Jones takes the reader on a fascinating tour of the world of human genetics, explaining how the field began, the role genes play in shaping who and what we are, and the effects that new genetic discoveries have had on the basic theories of evolution.

Overview

Displaying a remarkable ability to illustrate complex ideas simply, geneticist Jones takes the reader on a fascinating tour of the world of human genetics, explaining how the field began, the role genes play in shaping who and what we are, and the effects that new genetic discoveries have had on the basic theories of evolution.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author examines genetics, its benefits and its potential dangers. (July)
Library Journal
Witty and erudite, but a little unfocused, this title is as much about anthropology and (pre) history as genetics. Jones has produced a thought-provoking and free-wheeling book for the nonspecialist that touches on the genetics of languages, the role of sexual reproduction in genetic mutations, the evolution of farming, and the relationship of surnames to gene pools in various populations. The wide variety of topics considered is refreshing, as is the worldwide focus, but readers looking for a quick overview of genetics should look elsewhere (e.g., Robert Pollack, Signs of Life: The Language of DNA, LJ 1/94). Periodically, the author interjects purely speculative comments, but in general the lessons and conclusions of this book are complex and suitably low-key, given the rapid pace of change in molecular biology today and the difficulty of foreseeing all the future implications of these changes. Not an absolutely essential purchase, but an interesting one.-Mary Chitty, Cambridge Healthtech, Waltham, Mass.
Booknews
Jones (genetics, Galton Laboratory, University College, London) uses literary, political, historical, cultural, and scientific analogies and anecdotes to survey human genetics, explaining how the field began, the darker uses genetics has been put to in history, the role genes play in shaping who and what we are, and the effects that new genetic discoveries have had on our basic theories of evolution. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
William Beatty
"Two out of every three people reading these words will die for reasons connected with the genes they carry"--so much for the importance of Jones' topic. Three out of every three people reading this book will be clearly and accurately informed and enjoy their progress through it. They will learn, among other things, that 5,000 diseases are the result of genetic mutation and that some genetic defense mechanisms can cause more harm than good. In leading the reader up to the present state of genetic research, Jones spends considerable time with Darwinism and the eugenics movement. He shows that economics, geography, climate, religion, and language can affect various peoples' genetic makeup, that hypotheses are not facts, and that newspaper headlines are not always solid science. Indeed, to emphasize how these frequently misleading items can mislead, Jones describes his own "experiment" proving the connection between hair color and blood pressure! Jones, a British snail scientist, has turned his BBC Reith Lectures into one of the best recent books on a difficult subject.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385473729
Publisher:
Doubleday Publishing
Publication date:
07/01/1994
Edition description:
1st Anchor Books ed
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.45(h) x (d)

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