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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Ian Glass, MD, FRCP, FRACP, FACMG (University of Washington School of Medicine)
Description: This is a concise 250-page overview of genetic technology and many of its current applications.
Purpose: The purpose of this third edition is to provide a brief essential biological background to the genetic revolution, describing the Human Genome project and the current and future applications of such advances while attempting to place in context the ethics and role of genetic engineering in human society, overall. In this work by two authors, the writing is concise, accessible, and the book appears to achieve most of its aims.
Audience: A wide readership of health professionals and perhaps even the interested general public is anticipated, specifically those with little prior in-depth exposure to the background and applications of the Human Genome project other than sensing its importance. In fact, those with little prior background but desiring a general framework to begin to grasp this technology and its significance will benefit from consulting this book. The book does not assume basic scientific understanding but is adept enough to enable a reader to flip through the first three chapters of background to proceed directly to the applications chapters and still benefit. The authors are sufficiently authoritative in their field and have the necessary awareness to provide this framework and overview.
Features: The book is scantily illustrated by 15 line figures. There is a useful glossary as well as a very brief reference guide to further reading. The table of contents and index are adequate. The appearance of the book is basic, in keeping with a desire to provide an affordable, accessible guide. The uniqueness of this book lies in ability to provide virtual novices an eminently readable and concise tome that provides a contiguous sense of the history of this endeavor, the spectrum of genetic engineering applications from man to plants, while demystifying these technologies and presenting general societal concerns and themes.
Assessment: This book enters a somewhat crowded market but its concise and summarizing virtues confer reasonable competitiveness.