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Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (1999)

af Matt Ridley

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3,631473,425 (4.07)52
The genome's been mapped. But what does it mean? Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life. Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington's disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.… (mere)
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A clear and concise account of the state of dna research of today ( )
  LonLucePolak | Oct 21, 2021 |
I read a first edition, so there was a bunch of stuff that I knew to be out of date, and probably more that I didn't notice. I wouldn't recommend it unless you have an updated version.
The science itself is interesting. He's very fond of throwing in baseless conjecture and unfounded opinions, peppered with a bit of sexism and racism, for good measure.

One small example off the top of my head: he said that men are less likely to have themselves tested for Huntington's (a genetic disease which is not sex-linked) because they don't care as much about their families. ( )
  RebeccaBooks | Sep 16, 2021 |
A very interesting, intelligent read.

While I have read reviews deploring Matt Ridley for his deterministic views, I don't catch the criticism. The simple fact is, your genes do determine a particular set of futures, probabilities and potentials, it however does not determine the one future. For all the intelligence you're given by your genes, you can choose to not attend classes and be passed in knowledge by those with less genetic ability.

One criticism: Ridley does let his (conservative) politics invade the science on occasion. For example, his fear of the government somehow owning his genetic code (he doesn't say what they would actually do with it) is more insidious than an insurance company or employer who can (and actually has already done so) discriminate against people despite laws that prevent such practices. ( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
Some parts of this book were very enlightening, thought provoking, and awe inspiring. Other times when writing about something I knew about, the treatment was simplistic. The author also displays some prejudice on topics of nurture and psychotherapy. ( )
  snash | Feb 2, 2019 |
Not a new book but still listed as one of the best overviews. In fact tells about a lot more than genomes: learning, the nature of scientific truth, basis of morals, the road towards cancer cure, origins of human intelligence - the whole shebang. He gets slated here and there as a Right wing thub-tumper, but there’s little trace of that here. And he writes of complex matters with refreshing translucency. ( )
  vguy | Apr 7, 2018 |
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All forms that perish other forms supply,
(By turns we catch the vital breath and die)
Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne,
They rise, they break, and to that sea return.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man
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FOREWORD
When I began writing this book, the human genome was still a largely unexplored landscape.
CHROMOSOME 1
Life
In the beginning was the word.
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Whereas English books are written in words of variable lengths using twenty-three letters, genomes are written entirely in three-letter words, using only four letters: A, C, G, and T (which stand for adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine).
(p. 8)
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The genome's been mapped. But what does it mean? Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life. Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington's disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.

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