Show Book List

Buy from Amazon
Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Popular Science
Journal of Clinical Investigation (pdf)
Jon Turney
Galton Institute
Guardian Unlimited

Andrew Brown

In the beginning was the worm

Most animals are pretty complicated things, and its almost impossible to follow how they develop from a single cell. That's why scientists have chosen a very simple creature, the tiny nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans to study in detail. Andrew Brown's book 'In the beginning was the worm' describes how this has been done, looking at the cell by cell examination of the organism, its growth, and more recently the sequencing of its DNA. The book is written for a non-technical readership, and it recommended to anyone who is interested in the progress science is making in understanding the details of living things.

Brown is a journalist, and writes as someone reporting on the science rather than someone who was involved in doing it. I felt that this led to him standing back from the action too much and losing the thread of what was going on. But the book did well in portraying the lives of scientists working on C. elegans, and in particular the three 2002 Nobel prize winners, John Sulston, Bob Horowitz and Sydney Brenner.

For those wanting to go further the book has only a short section of sources, with a web address for further references - but unfortunately this doesn't seem to be there.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews