Who Wrote the Book of Life?: A History of the Genetic Code

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0804733848 2000 Stanford University Press. This hardcover copy has the typical ex-library markings, stamps, and index card holder to the spine and endpapers; otherwise this book ... is in good reading condition. The text is unmarked and the binding is sturdy. "This is a detailed history of one of the most important and dramatic episodes in modern science, recounted from the novel vantage point of the dawn of the information age and its impact on representations of nature, heredity, and society. Drawing on archives, published sources, and interviews, the author situates work on the genetic code (1953-70) within the history of life science, the rise of communication technosciences (cybernetics, information theory, and computers), the intersection of molecular biology with cryptanalysis and linguistics, and the social history..." 100% satisfaction guaranteed. We process and ship orders daily, securely and with delivery confirmation. The sale of this item benefits the Wichita Public Library. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Drawing on archives, published sources, and interviews, the author situates work on the genetic code (1953-1970) within the history of life science, the rise of communication technosciences (cybernetics, information theory, and computers), the intersection of molecular biology with cryptanalysis and linguistics, and the social history of postwar Europe and the United States.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Drawing on archives, published sources, and interviews, Kay (Harvard U.) situates research on the genetic code between 1953 and 1970 within the history of science, the rise of the communication technosciences, the intersection of molecular biology with cryptanalysis and linguistics, and the social history of postwar Europe and the US. She shows how the problem of DNA-based protein synthesis came to be seen as an information code and writing technology, but warns that these are only metaphors and that genetic code is not a code, DNA is not a language, and the genome is not an information system. Paper edition (unseen), $24.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"[Who Wrote the Book of Life] offers a convincing and historically rich analysis of the origins and ongoing negotiations involved in the production of the genetic code. . . . Kay is doing the work of mapping cultural shifts through tracing discursive circles of influence—not an easy task. The book has many strengths."—Canadian Journal of Communication

"Who Wrote the Book of Life? is, in general, carefully researched and technically accurate. It is a veritable treasure trove of quotations, citations and interesting information relating to its historical period."—American Scientist

"The entire book is fascinating and well written, unfolding more as a grand epic of the ways in which scientists work and think, rather than as a standard philosophical or historical treatise. The book is also an invaluable resource due to its exhaustive notes and reference sections. Highly recommended for all interested readers, undergraduates and up."—Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804733847
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Series: Writing Science Series
  • Pages: 441
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Lily E. Kay was formerly an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
1 The Genetic Code: Imaginaries and Practices 1
2 Spaces of Specificity: The Discourse of Molecular Biology Before the Age of Information 38
3 Production of Discourse: Cybernetics, Information, Life 73
4 Scriptural Technologies: Genetic Codes in the 1950s 128
5 The Pasteur Connection: Cybernetique Enzymatique, Gene Informateur, and Messenger RNA 193
6 Matter of Information: Writing Genetic Codes in the 1960s 235
7 In the Beginning Was the Wor(l)d? 294
Conclusion 326
Notes 335
Works Cited 381
Index 427
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