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New York Times

Nicholas Wade

Life Script: The Genome and the New Medicine

The sequencing of the human genome was a highly significant event in biology. InLife Script: How the Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine and Enhance Your Health Nicholas Wade looks at the benefits which may come from our knowledge of the genome.

The first three chapters of the book describe the race, between a consortium of academic biologists and Craig Venter's company Celera, to sequence the genome. The book goes on to look at the advances in medicine which result from our knowledge of genomics, for instance a 'gene chip' which can distinguish between two variants of lymphoma, and so tell which of chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant is most suited to the patient. The last three chapters of the book are more speculative, looking at the prospects for regenerating parts of our bodies, the possibilities of life extension and the promises and problems of germline modification.

What I was looking for was a book which showed the new areas of research opened up by the sequencing of the genome. I don't think that this was it. It was written in 2001, which seems to soon after the event to see what might follow, and the description of the race has been somewhat superceded by the books written by t Venter and Sulston. It's an informative book to read, though, and it may well be of interest from a historical perspective - have the promises of 2001 been fulfilled nine years later? info
Paperback 208 pages  
ISBN: 0743223187
Salesrank: 6131224
Published: 2002 Simon & Schuster
Amazon price $7.25
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Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0743206975
Salesrank: 5874209
Weight:0.75 lbs
Published: 2001 Simon & Schuster Ltd
Marketplace:New from £52.99:Used from £0.61
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Hardcover 208 pages  
ISBN: 0743216059
Weight:0.85 lbs
Published: 2001 Simon & Schuster
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Product Description
With the decoding of the human genome, researchers can now read the genetic program that evolution has written for the human body. A new generation of medical treatments is at hand, and researchers hope to uncover the genetic roots of illness and develop new therapies for most major diseases. Here, New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade describes the race to decode the genome and how the new knowledge will transform medicine. Soon, physicians will be able to screen people's genes for all the diseases to which they may be vulnerable. With the emerging art of regenerative medicine, physicians will use stem cells and genomic techniques to replace failing tissues and organs with new ones. Many drugs will be prescribed based on DNA information that will identify which pharmaceuticals are best for each patient. Medicine will be customized for a patient's genetic makeup, providing treatments based on a precise understanding of the mechanism of disease itself. It may even be possible to extend the human life span by manipulating the genes that control it.