Junk DNA

Junk DNA : A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome

3.93 (536 ratings by Goodreads)
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For decades after the identification of the structure of DNA, scientists focused only on genes, the regions of the genome that contain codes for the production of proteins. Other regions that make up 98 percent of the human genome were dismissed as "junk," sequences that serve no purpose. But researchers have recently discovered variations and modulations in this junk DNA that are involved with a number of intractable diseases. Our increasing knowledge of junk DNA has led to innovative research and treatment approaches that may finally ameliorate some of these conditions. Junk DNA can play vital and unanticipated roles in the control of gene expression, from fine-tuning individual genes to switching off entire chromosomes. These functions have forced scientists to revisit the very meaning of the word "gene" and have engendered a spirited scientific battle over whether or not this genomic "nonsense" is the source of human biological complexity.
Drawing on her experience with leading scientific investigators in Europe and North America, Nessa Carey provides a clear and compelling introduction to junk DNA and its critical involvement in phenomena as diverse as genetic diseases, viral infections, sex determination in mammals, and evolution. We are only now unlocking the secrets of junk DNA, and Nessa Carey's book is an essential resource for navigating the history and controversies of this fast-growing, hotly disputed field.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 360 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 30.48mm | 598.74g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 61 b&w illustrations
  • 023117084X
  • 9780231170840
  • 998,017

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Notes on Nomenclature An Introduction to Genomic Dark Matter 1. Why Dark Matter Matters 2. When Dark Matter Turns Very Dark Indeed 3. Where Did All the Genes Go? 4. Outstaying an Invitation 5. Everything Shrinks When We Get Old 6. Two Is the Perfect Number 7. Painting with Junk 8. Playing the Long Game 9. Adding Colour to the Dark Matter 10. Why Parents Love Junk 11. Junk with a Mission 12. Switching It On, Turning It Up 13. No Man's Land 14. Project ENCODE-Big Science Comes to Junk DNA 15. Headless Queens, Strange Cats, and Portly Mice 16. Lost in Untranslation 17. Why LEGO Is Better Than Airfix 18. Mini Can Be Mighty 19. The Drugs Do Work (Sometimes) 20. Some Light in the Darkness Notes Appendix: Human Diseases in Which Junk DNA Has Been Implicated Index
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Review quote

Engaging, informative, and humorous, Nessa Carey's Junk DNA will be of interest to many readers. -- Sharon Y. R. Dent, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Carey makes two points very clearly: that our understanding is tentative and evolving, and that chromosomal functioning is far more intricate than anyone ever hypothesized. Publisher's Weekly Junk DNA provides a cutting-edge, exhaustive guide to the rapidly changing, ever-more mysterious genome. -- Linda Geddes New Scientist [Junk DNA], which is frequently humorous and well documented, does a fine job of explaining a complex subject for lay readers who are willing to put in some effort. Library Journal Carey's enthusiasm for her subject is infectious... An excellent introduction to a subject that we are certain to be hearing a lot more about in the near future. -- Mark Diston The Register Junk DNA serves as a nice primer. The Scientist The first popular overview of this field... [Carey] has an excellent grasp of the history of junk DNA and its implications for both basic and applied science. She has a gift for analogies and converts complex biochemistry into imagery that brings it to a level nonspecialists can grasp. -- Elof Axel Carlson Quarterly Review of Biology
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About Nessa Carey

Nessa Carey is a visiting professor at Imperial College, London. She earned her Ph.D. in virology from the University of Edinburgh. Having worked in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries for more than a decade, she maintains strong relationships with leading researchers in Europe and across the United States, at such institutions as the Harvard Medical School, the University of Pennsylvania, the Wistar Institute, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the University of Southern California. Carey is also the author of The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance.
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Rating details

536 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 26% (142)
4 46% (247)
3 22% (119)
2 5% (25)
1 1% (3)
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