Transducing the Genome: Information, Anarchy, and Revolution in The Biomedical Sciences

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9780071387613: Transducing the Genome: Information, Anarchy, and Revolution in The Biomedical Sciences

"Captivating... hard to put down."­­Choice

"A bracing insider's account of why gene structure matters to science and commerce."­­American Scientist

How genomics is bringing biology into the Digital Age

In this important book, a scientist gives us an inside account of the historic paradigm shift under way in the life sciences as a result of the Human Genome Project and provides a philosophical framework in which to understand biology and medicine as information sciences. In a story told on many fascinating levels, Gary Zweiger introduces us to the visionaries who first understood genes as information carriers and chronicles how their early efforts led to the birth of the new science of genomics. He provides insights into the uneasy collaboration of private, government, and academic efforts, the role of the pharmaceutical companies, and the influence of venture capitalists on one of the most ambitious and potentially significant scientific undertakings in history. Most important, he explores the profound impact that the transducing of biological information into a digital format already has had on biological research and medicine, and the equally profound effect it is sure to have on our understanding of ourselves and all living creatures.

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Review:

What has made the Human Genome Project so deeply appealing? In one sense, it's just another large-scale, big-budget effort to keep a gang of nerds busy and out of trouble for a few years. Geneticist Gary Zweiger looks askance at this and explains how the confluence of information systems, big science, and business exemplified by the HGP is actually accelerating the pace of beneficial change for all people. Transducing the Genome: Information, Anarchy, and Revolution in the Biomedical Sciences draws deeply on Zweiger's experience in biological science and biotech commerce to illuminate the scientific, economic, and legal issues relevant to the search for a more complete understanding of human genetics. Brimming with pro-capitalist optimism, he believes that the information revolution spawned the biotech explosion and will soon lead to better, cheaper solutions to a very broad range of health problems:

Knowledge of our internal information network will come mostly from an explosion of new genomic database analyses. A growing army of mathematicians and information scientists will develop increasingly powerful and more useful algorithms and computational processes for finding biomedical knowledge in these databases. A growing regiment of biologists and medical professionals with training in mathematics and information sciences will lead these knowledge discovery missions.

Zweiger assuages the reader's fears of gene patents with a brief foray into intellectual property law. It does seem unlikely that biotech patents will pose any more problems than standard pharmaceutical company practice. Combining scientific, legal, and business expertise, Transducing the Genome provides the most comprehensive overview of the birth of biotech yet written. --Rob Lightner

From the Back Cover:

An enthralling, behind-the-scenes look at how genomics is bringing biology into the Digital Age.

Here is our most lucid explanation yet of the significance of the Human Genome Project and the dramatic paradigm shift that it has engendered in the life sciences. In a story told on many fascinating levels, geneticist Gary Zweiger introduces us to the visionaries who first understood genes as information carriers and chronicles how their efforts led to the birth of genomics. He provides insights into the uneasy collaboration of private, government, and academic efforts; the role of the pharmaceutical companies; and the influence of venture capitalists on one of the most ambitious and significant scientific undertakings in history. Most importantly, he explores the profound impact that the transducing of biological information into digital format has had on biological research and medicine, and the equally profound effect it is certain to have on our understanding of ourselves and all living creatures.

Praise for Transducing the Genome:

"Captivating...hard to put down."

--Choice

"A bracing insider's account of why gene structure matters to science and commerce."

--American Scientist

"For a new perspective on the scientific and commercial importance of genomics from and industry viewpoint, Transducing the Genome offers nonspecialists an excellent and enjoyable introduction."

--Science magazine

"An insider's perspective on a Byzantine world involving complex, mathematically rich science, bleeding-edge technology, business decision-making in the face of uncertainty, and a thicket of legal and social concerns that could turn into big problems....a most welcome addition to the growing genomics literature."

­­Robert Cooke-Deegan

author of The Gene Wars: Science, Politics and the Human Genome

"Gary Zweiger has produced an outstanding history of research in Genomics. Transducing the Genome is a wonderfully readable and enjoyable book that shows us where Genomics came from, and where it is taking us."

­­Leonard H. Augenlicht, PhD

Professor, Medicine and Cell Biology

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Hospital/Oncology

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