When a Gene Makes You Smell Like a Fish: ...and Other Amazing Tales about the Genes in Your Body

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$10.56
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.37
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 75%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $4.37   
  • New (7) from $10.95   
  • Used (6) from $4.37   

Overview

From the gene that causes people to age prematurely to the "bitter gene" that may spawn broccoli haters, this book explores a few of the more exotic locales on the human genome, highlighting some of the tragic and bizarre ways our bodies go wrong when genes fall prey to mutation and the curious ways in which genes have evolved for our survival.
Lisa Seachrist Chiu has a smorgasbord of stories to tell about rare and not so rare genetic quirks. We read about the Dracula Gene, a mutation in zebra fish that causes blood cells to explode on contact with light, and suites of genes that also influence behavior and physical characteristics; the Tangier Island Gene, first discovered after physicians discovered a boy with orange tonsils (scientists now realize that the child's odd condition comes from an inability to process cholesterol); and Wilson's Disease, a gene defect that fails to clear copper from the body, which can trigger schizophrenia and other neurological symptoms, and can be fatal if left untreated. Friendlier mutations include the Myostatin gene, which allows muscles to become much larger than usual and enhances strength and the much-envied Cheeseburger Gene, which allows a lucky few to eat virtually anything they want and remain razor thin.
While fascinating us with stories of genetic peculiarities, Chiu also manages to effortlessly explain much of the cutting-edge research in modern genetics, resulting in a book that is both informative and entertaining. It is a must read for everyone who loves popular science or is curious about the human body.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although Chiu uses a catchy title, cute jokes and soft watercolor illustrations by her mother to disguise this book as popular science, she has produced a rigorous and detailed survey of the most recent developments in human genetics; a Genetics Primer is appended, and many readers will no doubt need it. The first chapter, on a woman who smelled so badly of fish she had to take a three-month leave of absence from work, seems at first the usual, chatty fare of much popular science writing. Within a few paragraphs, however, Chiu has launched into a complex discussion of gene mutation and enzymes. Chiu writes best in her detailed accounts of these genetic oddities, but the names Chiu and others have given the genes responsible ( The Cheeseburger Gene, The Werewolf Gene, The Calico Cat Gene ) often belie their seriousness, a problem echoed in Chiu s personal anecdotes, which seem to serve less as relevant commentary than as deliberate bids for a larger readership. Chiu s greater contribution is in her willingness to trust her audience with explanations of genetics research that are long, dense, complicated and surprisingly accessible. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Science journalist Chiu examines genetic variation through case histories and explorations of physiological phenomena (e.g., lactose intolerance, sensitivity to bitter tastes). Her examples illustrating Mendelian inheritance, including trimethylaminuria (a.k.a. "fish odor syndrome"), Huntington's disease, and hemophilia, make for compelling reading. Unfortunately, she gets bogged down in details when addressing more complex topics like genomic imprinting (when the parental origin of a gene determines whether or not it has an effect in offspring) or a hypothetical "cheeseburger gene" (one enabling the possessor to gourmandize without gaining weight). A few passages incorrectly imply that marsupials are not mammals (they are not placental mammals). Additional illustrations and perhaps a glossary would have helped explain some of the more sophisticated concepts. Still, this book may appeal to readers who enjoyed Matt Ridley's Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters or Philip R. Reilly's Abraham Lincoln's DNA and Other Adventures in Genetics. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-Nancy R. Curtis, Univ. of Maine Lib., Orono Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195327069
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/9/2007
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 500,098
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Seachrist Chiu is a journalist and writer who has covered the cutting edge of genetics, medicine, and molecular biology for more than a decade. She's been published in United Press International Syndicate papers, Science, Science News, BioWorld Today, Discovery.com, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She lives in Washington, DC.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.


If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)