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Adrian Woolfson

An intelligent persons guide to genetics

In the coming years it is likely that the applications of genetics will play an important part in shaping our lives, and so it important that people have sufficient knowledge of the subject to make informed decisions on how society should react to these possibilities. This book is an attempt to fill that need. However, it is not a book to teach you genetics, and I feel that the reader needs to know the basics of the subject before starting it. What it does do is to provide a background of the subject, with each chapter starting with a historical anecdote and then describing an area of research in genetics mostly in a non-technical fashion (one chapter does get a bit technical, with a sudden increase in the average word length.)

The book deals well with the question of what makes humans different from other animals. Do we have extra genes, or are the genes we have in common slightly different. Are different genes turned on, and does 'junk DNA' play any part. You won't get any answers - these are still research topics - but you will get a better idea of the questions being asked. I did feel that the book was lacking a proper discussion of the ethics of the subject. Woolfson does speculate on how humans may modify themselves in future, but doesn't seem to think that we have much choice in the matter. If he believes that such changes will be beneficial, then I would say that he should give a lot more space to arguing his case.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0715634232
Salesrank:
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 2005 Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
Marketplace:New from $6.74:Used from $2.86
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0715634232
Salesrank: 1699172
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 2005 Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
Amazon price £8.99
Marketplace:New from £3.13:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0715634232
Salesrank:
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 2005 Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 4.06:Used from CDN$ 2.35
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Product Description
Adrian Woolfson explores the ethical minefield of genetics in the latest book in the popular INTELLIGENT PERSON'S GUIDE series. In a laboratory in America, a scientist Craig Ventor having successfully constructed a man-made virus, is now in the process of building the world's first artificial creature. His work is part of a revolutionary new type of 'synthetic' biology, which aims not just to understand how living things work, but to build them from scratch. Elsewhere molecular biologists have tapped into the DNA record to show that dodos were in fact a rare type of pigeon and the extinct quagga, a type of zebra. New research has also told us that although a distinct type of human, Neanderthal man was not our ancestor. Like eyewitness accounts of Victorian chimney sweeps, the DNA record is an imperfect time machine that can help reconstruct our past. It will also shape our future, as although designed 'naturally' by thousands of millions of years of evolution, mankind will soon be able to redesign itself. But how will such work be guided? What is needed is a manifesto for life, which acclaimed author Adrian Woolfson delivers in his examination of life and its future possibilities.