Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

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9788172236090: Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters
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The most impo’rtant investigation of genetic science since The Selfish Gene’, from the author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling ‘The Red Queen’ and ‘The Origins of Virtue’.

The genome is our 100,000 or so genes, the collective recipe for the building and running of the human body. These 100,000 genes are sited across 23 pairs of chromosomes. ‘Genome,’ is divided into 23 chapters, a chapter for each chromosome.

By looking at our genes we can see the story of our evolution, what makes us individual, how our sexuality is determined, how we acquire language, why we are vulnerable to certain diseases, how the mind has developed. ‘Genome’ also argues for the genetic foundations of free will. While many believe that genetics proves biological determinism, Ridley will show that in fact free will is itself is encoded – everything that makes us human can be read in our genes.

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Science writer Matt Ridley's Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters is an elegant reflection on the significance of being able, for the first time in history, to read our own genes. The book is loosely organised around the stories of one gene per chromosome, rather than the whole genome. This enables Ridley to take in most of the usual topics associated with genes--our relations with other species, the nature of intelligence, the origins of behaviour--and add some new ones. Ridley is a fine writer and explains his selection of genetic stories exceptionally well. This is especially helpful when he is dealing with the intricacies of evolutionary theory or the tangled webs of genes influencing biochemistry influencing behaviour, influencing biochemistry influencing genes. His libertarian-right politics (state intervention bad, individual choice good) cut through many traditional worries about screening, testing and eugenics. The generally even tone only deserts him in a rather bad- tempered discussion of BSE (which starts with the gene for the protein implicated in the disease) and public attitudes to beef-eating. Otherwise, he is almost always persuasive, always interesting. By the time they finish cataloguing all our DNA, there look like being as many books on the subject as there are human genes. This is one of the ones worth having. --John Turney

Review:

?Remarkable. . . . Hops from one human chromosome to the next in search of the most delightful stories.?--"New York Times Book Review
?A fascinating tour of the human genome. . . . If you want to catch a glimpse of the biotech century that is now dawning, and how it will make life better for us all, Genome is an excellent place to start.?--"Wall Street Journal
?A superb writer whose exquisite, often moving descriptions of life's designs remind me of the best work of the late Lewis Thomas. . . . He crafts some of the clearest explanations of complex biological processes that I have encountered. What's more, he captures their slippery beauty.?-- Susan Okie, "Washington Post Book World
?Ridley is a lucid, engaging and enthusiastic guide to the double-helical DNA that comprises our inheritable human essence.?-- "Los Angeles Times Book Review
?Ridley can explain with equal verve difficult moral issues, philosophical quandaries and technical biochemistry; he distinguishes facts from opinions well, and he's not shy about offering either. Among many recent books on genes, behavior and evolution, Ridley's is one of the most informative. It's also the most fun to read.?--"Publishers Weekly (starredreview)
?Superb popular science writing and cogent public affairs argumentation.?--"Booklist (starred review)
?An engrossing account of the genetic history of our species. . . . This book will be particularly relevant to lay readers, providing insight into how far we have come and where we are heading in the understanding of our genetic heritage.?--"Library Journal
?Ridley . . . deftly takes up the story of the genome in 23 chapters in clear entertaining prose. Eminently readable, compelling and important.?--"Kirkus Reviews
?A lucid and exhilarating romp through our 23 human chromosomes that lets us see how nature and nature combine to make us human.?--James Watson
?With riveting anecdotes, clever analogies and compelling writing, Matt Ridley makes the human genome come alive for us. I was left in awe at the wonder of the human body, and the scientists who unravel its mysteries.?--Abraham Verghese, author of " The Tennis Partner
?Clever, up-to-the-minute informative, and an altogether spellbinding read. Ridley does just what a first-rate journalist should do: get it right, make in interesting, then wisely put it all in perspective.? --SarahHardy, author of " Mother Nature
?"Genome is a tour de force: clear, witty, timely and informed by an intelligence that sees new knowledge as a blessing and not a curse. . . . A cracking read.?--"Times (of London)
?Matt Ridley's brilliant new book is eloquent and up-to-date. . . . A much needed breath of fresh air.?--"Daily Telegraph
?Compelling. . . . Spectacular. . . . This is one of those rare books in which the intellectual excitement continues to rise from what already seems an almost impossibly high plateau. . . . Not even the scientifically purblind will fail to perceive the momentous nature of the issues he raises.?--"Spectator
? A dazzling work of popular science, offering clarity and inspiration. . . . Witty erudition.?--"Guardian
?Erudition, intriguing sequences of anecdotes and . . . stylish prose. The combination has resulted in the best popular science book I have read this year, a worthy autobiography of mankind.?--"Observer
?An exciting voyage . . . very much up-to-date . . . Ridley includes just the right amount of history and personal anecdote to spice up science. He's a good storyteller.?-- "ScientificAmerican
?An extraordinarily nimble synthesist, Ridley leaps from chromosome to chromosome in a handy summation of our ever increasing understanding of the roles that genes play in disease, behavior, sexual differences, and even intelligence. More important, though, he addresses not only the ethical quandaries faced by contemporary scientists but the reductionist danger in equating inheritability with inevitability.?-- "The New Yorker
?Matt Ridley [writes] with a combination of biblical awe, scientific curiosity and wit about what many consider the greatest scientific breakthrough of the 20th century and the greatest technological challenge of the 21st: the discovery of the molecular basis of life and its many applications in medicine, law, and commerce.?-- "Dallas Morning News
?Thoroughly fascinating. . . . A sophisticated blending of science and public policy certain to educate, entertain, challenge and stimulate even the least technologically inclined reader.?--"Philadephia Inquirer
?Lively phrasing and vivid analogies . . . I gained an appreciation for the incredible complexity of human beings.?--"Minneapolis Star-Tribune
?With skillful writing and masterful knowledge of his subject matter, Ridley conveys a wealth of information about what we currentlyknow, or think we know, about the human genome?No well-educated person can afford to remain ignorant of this advancing science. GENOME provides a sound and engaging introduction.?--Austin American-Statesman

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