The Book of Man

The Book of Man : The Quest to Discover Our Genetic Heritage

3.55 (18 ratings by Goodreads)
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James Watson, a discoverer of the structure of DNA, described it as "the most golden of molecules," the true chemical for life. Indeed, it is the essential component from which our genes are made. In it is encoded the genetic language that controls our destinies. Astonishingly powerful, just six millionths of a gram of DNA carries as much information as ten volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary . The "Book of Man," is the term used by Walter Bodmer and Robin McKie for the DNA that is the instruction set according to which all humans are made. At conception, a single cell--the fertilized egg--is produced, and it is this one cell that has the potential to form a new and unique individual under the guidance of the DNA within its nucleus. The human body is made up of a hundred million million cells of many different sorts, and all contain the inherited information that comes from that first, single cell created at fertilization. Bodmer and McKie assert that when we learn how to read DNA's pages and chapters we will obtain the information relevant to the understanding of most diseases, individual differences in behavior, and a new awareness of our own history and evolution. The Book of Man explores how genetic information is now being read and interpreted by focusing on biology's most ambitious undertaking to date--the Human Genome Project, an attempt to uncover all the 100,000 genes that control our development and detail the DNA alphabet of each. The authors go on to wrestle with the moral and ethical issues of modern genetics, making a case for a rational appraisal of genetic engineering and for the public to become sufficiently "DNA literate" in order to appreciate the crucial role it plays in our lives. From Gregor Mendel's discovery of the laws of inheritance to the high-tech, crime-stopping power of forensics science and the fascinating but sometimes troublesome implications of the latest science of genetic engineering, The Boshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 157 x 233.4 x 19.3mm | 389.31g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0195114876
  • 9780195114874
  • 1,672,405

Review quote

"Clear, accurate, and well written....If you want your voice to be heard in this most urgent of debates, then read this balanced and informative book."--The Sunday Times (London)"[Offers] an enormous amount of thought-provoking material....Will serve as an incisive introduction to the exploding field of genetic engineering."--The Philadelphia Inquirer"The message of The Book of Man is that all responsible citizens ought to achieve DNA literacy. I strongly recommend it to scientists and nonscientists alike."--Francis Crick, Nobel laureate and author of Molecules and Me"Bodmer and McKie have done a superb job of making extremely technical genetic and molecular processes understandable to the lay reader."--Library Journal"A lively and wide-ranging book about the accomplishments and aspirations of genetics and those who study it....Possibly the best popular treatment to date of the most glamorous and least understood of the biological sciences."--Kirkus Reviewsshow more

About W.F. Bodmer

Sir Walter Bodmer is one of the world's most distinguished human geneticists. As a former president of the Human Genome Organization, he has gained a unique perspective on how this great undertaking is progressing. Robin McKie, science editor of the Observer since 1982, has followed the story of modern molecular biology's flowering and has written many articles and books on the subject.show more

Back cover copy

The Human Genome Project and the Quest to Discover Our Genetic Heritage.The 'Book of Man, ' is the term used by Walter Bodmer and Robin McKie for the DNA that is the instruction set according to which all humans are made. At conception, a single cell - the fertilized egg - is produced, and it is this one cell that has the potential to form a new and unique individual under the guidance of the DNA within its nucleus.show more

Rating details

18 ratings
3.55 out of 5 stars
5 11% (2)
4 39% (7)
3 44% (8)
2 6% (1)
1 0% (0)
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