Life's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code

Life's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code

by Matthew Cobb

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Overview

Everyone has heard of the story of DNA as the story of Watson and Crick and Rosalind Franklin, but knowing the structure of DNA was only a part of a greater struggle to understand life's secrets. Life's Greatest Secret is the story of the discovery and cracking of the genetic code, the thing that ultimately enables a spiraling molecule to give rise to the life that exists all around us. This great scientific breakthrough has had farreaching consequences for how we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world, and for how we might take control of our (and life's) future.

Life's Greatest Secret mixes remarkable insights, theoretical dead-ends, and ingenious experiments with the swift pace of a thriller. From New York to Paris, Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Cambridge, England, and London to Moscow, the greatest discovery of twentieth-century biology was truly a global feat. Biologist and historian of science Matthew Cobb gives the full and rich account of the cooperation and competition between the eccentric characters — mathematicians, physicists, information theorists, and biologists — who contributed to this revolutionary new science. And, while every new discovery was a leap forward for science, Cobb shows how every new answer inevitably led to new questions that were at least as difficult to answer: just ask anyone who had hoped that the successful completion of the Human Genome Project was going to truly yield the book of life, or that a better understanding of epigenetics or "junk DNA" was going to be the final piece of the puzzle. But the setbacks and unexpected discoveries are what make the science exciting, and it is Matthew Cobb's telling that makes them worth reading. This is a riveting story of humans exploring what it is that makes us human and how the world works, and it is essential reading for anyone who'd like to explore those questions for themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465062676
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 529,771
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Matthew Cobb is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester, where he studies olfaction, insect behavior, and the history of science. He earned his PhD in psychology and genetics from the University of Sheffield. He is the author of five books: Life's Greatest Secret, Generation, The Resistance, Eleven Days in August, and Smell: A Very Short Introduction. He lives in England.

Table of Contents

1. Genes before DNA
2. Information is everywhere
3. The transformation of genes
4. A slow revolution
5. The age of control
6. The double helix
7. Genetic information
8. The central dogma
9. Enzyme cybernetics
10. Enter the outsiders
11. The race
Update
12. Surprises and sequences
13. The central dogma revisited
14. Brave new world
15. Origins and meanings
Conclusion

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