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

Overview

Displaying a remarkable ability to convey complex ideas in an entertaining and illuminating way, geneticist Steve Jones takes the reader on a fascinating tour of the world of 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. Over the last decade, the study of the human genetic code has granted us unparalleled insights into ...
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Overview

Displaying a remarkable ability to convey complex ideas in an entertaining and illuminating way, geneticist Steve Jones takes the reader on a fascinating tour of the world of 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. Over the last decade, the study of the human genetic code has granted us unparalleled insights into our species' past, present, and future. The Human Genome Project - a massive scientific effort to map out each of the three billion elements in a strand of DNA - is but one example of the explosion of knowledge in recent years. Gradually, the origins of some of the most crippling and mysterious illnesses are beginning to come to light, as scientists locate the specific genes linked to hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and Huntington's disease, offering new hope for detection and cure. But in addition to exploring the enormous potential benefits of current genetic research, Dr. Jones confronts head-on the complex moral dangers of genetic engineering. The Language of Genes provides a timely and much-needed road map to understanding what may well be science's most controversial and challenging field.

Based on popular lectures broadcast over the BBC in 1991/ titles incl. clocks, fossils & apes/fear of Frankenstein.

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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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385474283
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,537,483
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 7.97 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: A Malacologist's Apology 9
Introduction: The Fingerprints of History 13
1 A Message from Our Ancestors 29
2 The Rules of the Game 43
3 Herodotus Revised 55
4 Change or Decay 71
5 The Battle of the Sexes 84
6 Clocks, Fossils and Apes 100
7 Time and Chance 114
8 The Economics of Eden 128
9 The Kingdoms of Cain 142
10 Darwin's Strategist 156
11 The Deadly Fevers 169
12 Caliban's Revenge 182
13 Cousins Under the Skin 197
14 Evolution Engineered 211
15 Fear of Frankenstein 224
16 The Evolution of Utopia 237
Selected Bibliography 251
Index 263
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