Herding Hemingway's Cats

Herding Hemingway's Cats : Understanding how our genes work

3.93 (360 ratings by Goodreads)
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The language of genes has become common parlance. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. The media tells us that our genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

So we've all heard of genes, but how do they actually work?

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with myriad control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. Figuring out how it all works - how your genes build your body - is a major challenge for researchers around the world. And what they're discovering is that far from genes being a fixed, deterministic blueprint, things are much more random and wobbly than anyone expected.

Drawing on stories ranging from six toed cats and stickleback hips to Mickey Mouse mice and zombie genes - told by researchers working at the cutting edge of genetics - Kat Arney explores the mysteries in our genomes with clarity, flair and wit, creating a companion reader to the book of life itself.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 30.48mm | 429g
  • Bloomsbury Sigma
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1472910044
  • 9781472910042
  • 439,669

Table of contents

Introduction: It's All About that Base
1. It's Not What You've Got, It's What You Do With It That Counts
2. Taking Out the Garbage
3. A Bit of Dogma
4. Throwing the Switch
5. The Secret's in the Blend
6. Cats with Thumbs
7. Fish with Hips
8. Mice and Men and Mole Rats, Oh My!
9. Party Town
10. Pimp My Genome
11. Cut and Paste
12. Nature's Red Pen
13. Ever Increasing Circles
14. Silence of the Genes
15. Night of the Living Dead
16. On the Hop
17. Opening a Can of Wobbly Worms
18. Everyone's a Little Bit Mutant
19. Opening the Black Box
20. Blame the Parents
21. Meet the Mickey Mouse Mice
22. In Search of the 21st-Century Gene
I'd like to thank ...
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Review quote

A witty, clued-up report from the front lines of genetics ... Kat Arney unravels the intricacies of the discipline with a romp through 'thumbed' cats, hipped fish and frank interviews with scientists. * Nature * Arney's chirpy tour through the mysteries of modern genetics is engrossing and fun ... a lively update on the phenomenal complexity of the molecular inheritance that make us us. -- Stephen Curry * The Guardian * Arney's delightful book is accessible to those without a scientific background and its breezy anecdotal style makes for entertaining reading. -- Mark Pagel * BBC Focus * ...a gorgeously written, surprisingly gripping introduction to everything we've learned about genes since the famous Human Genome Project several years ago. -- Robert Krulwich * National Geographic * A sprightly, energetic tour through the minds of those trying to understand genes. each snappy chapter is a remarkable feat of information and fascination. -- Robin Ince, comedian, writer and co-presenter of The Infinite Monkey Cage and The Quest for Wonder Kay Arney explores the mysteries of the genome, shedding light on the complex and ever-changing world of genetics. * Science Focus * If you want to find out for whom the cell mutates, then Herding Hemingway's Cats is for you ... Kat Arney decodes the greatest works of nature, written in the language of the genes. -- Roger Highfield, author, science journalist and museum executive A great addition to the rapidly growing field of books giving us an insight into just how complex biology is at the molecular level ... a great piece of popular science. -- Brian Clegg * Popular Science * Kat is one of the world's finest science communicators and enthusiasts. Herding Hemingway's Cats will instantly turn you into the most interesting guest at any party - it's a joy to read and a masterclass in making the complex story of life accessible, entertaining and relevant. -- Mark Stevenson, author of An Optimist's Tour of the Future Injecting personality, enthusiasm and humour into the topic, geneticist Kat Arney uses bizarre stories ... to show how genes give our cells the recipe for life. * How It Works *
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About Kat Arney

Following a doctorate in developmental genetics at Cambridge University and a research career, Kat Arney is now Science Communications Manager at Cancer Research UK where she translates science-speak into plain English for the charity's supporters, the media and the general public. Kat is also a freelance science writer and broadcaster, whose work has appeared in the Guardian, New Scientist, BBC Online, Al-Jazeera Online and Mosaic.

Kat regularly appears on national TV and radio shows talking about the latest cancer research. She has co-presented the award-winning Naked Scientists podcast and radio show for more than a decade, presents and produces the Naked Genetics monthly podcast, has fronted several BBC Radio 4 science documentaries, and doesn't sleep very much.

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Rating details

360 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 28% (99)
4 45% (163)
3 21% (77)
2 4% (16)
1 1% (5)
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