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The Thread of Life: The Story of Genes and Genetic Engineering / Edition 1

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Susan Aldridge gives an accessible guide to the world of DNA and also explores the applications of genetic engineering in biotechnology. She takes the reader step by step, through the fascinating study of molecular biology. The first part of the book describes DNA and its function within living organisms. The second part explores genetic engineering and its applications to humans - such as gene therapy, genetic screening and DNA fingerprinting. The third part looks at the wider world of biotechnology and how genetic engineering can be applied to such problems as producing vegetarian cheese or cleaning up the environment. The final part explains how knowledge of the structure and functioning of genes sheds light on evolution and our place in the world. Although easy to read, this book does not avoid the science involved and should be read by anyone who wants to know about DNA and genetic engineering.

"...a comprehensive guide to molecular biology, DNA, & the applications of genetic engineering in biotechnology... ideal for the reader interested in, but not schooled in, molecular biology."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a thorough introduction to this fascinating field...for the reader witha background and ongoing interest in biology, The Thread of Life is a valuable resource." Boston Book Review

"Here is a book that could well be offered to would-be science writers as a guide to the craft of engaging and retaining their readers' interest...the story is told as a pleasing succession of sections on the nature of DNA and its functions, genetic engineering and human applications such as screening and fingerprinting, and the principal varieties of biotechnology. Within each section, there is evidence of careful consideration of how to lead the reader, as painlessly and even entertainingly as possible, from one realm of concepts to the other...there are vivid descriptions of phenomena which other authors struggle (and often fail) to put across in an accessible way...Susan Aldridge has written a fine book. It can be confidently recommended both to students and scientists in other fields, and to general readers seeking a uniquely comprehensive portrait of genes and genetic engineering." Bernard Dixon, Science Spectra

"Anyone looking for a dependable insight into the applications and implications of molecular genetics--on what is really happening and what realistically might happen in the future--can be directed with confidence towards...Susan Aldridge's The Thread of Life...With clarity, cogency and surprisingly little overlap, British researcher and science writer Aldridge explains the science of DNA, gene splicing and biotechnology...." New Scientist

"This is a very readable book...well worth reading. A good review of the expanse of DNA related research and technology, it will help to keep broad the perspective of those engrossed in a segment of the field. For those who are early in studies it will stimulate imagination for their future contribution and for the serious reader who wants a good introduction, The Thread of Life could be just that." American Journal of Medical Genetics

" outstanding review of DNA, its history and application....An interesting and useful account." Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521625098
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2008
  • Series: Canto Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustration credits
1 DNA is life's blueprint 3
2 DNA in action 29
3 A close up of the genome 55
4 Where did DNA come from? 77
5 Genetic engineering 103
6 Creating new life forms 113
7 Genes - the human angle 137
8 New genes for old 165
9 The wide world of biotechnology 183
10 Plant power 197
11 Environmental solutions 223
12 Beyond DNA 243
Further reading 253
Index 255
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