Herding Hemingway's Cats: Understanding how our genes work (Bloomsbury Sigma)

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9781472910042: Herding Hemingway's Cats: Understanding how our genes work (Bloomsbury Sigma)

The language of genes has become common parlance. We know they make our eyes blue, our hair curly, and they control our risks of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism, and Alzheimer's. One thousand dollars will buy you your own genome readout, neatly stored on a USB stick. And advances in genetic medicine hold huge promise.

We've all heard of genes, but how do they actually work? There are six feet of DNA inside every one of your cells; this encodes 20,000 or so genes, tangled into a mass of molecular spaghetti. This is the text of the cookbook of life, and hidden within these strands are the instructions that tell cells when and where to turn genes on or off.

In 1935, Ernest Hemingway was supposedly given Snow White, a six-toed cat who went on to father a line of similar offspring that still roam the writer's Florida estate. Scientists now know that the fault driving this profusion of digits lies in a tiny genetic control switch, miles away (in molecular terms) from the gene that "makes" toes. Researchers are discovering more about the myriad molecular switches that make sure genes are turned on at the right time and in the right place, and what happens when they don't work properly. This is allowing a four-dimensional picture of DNA to be built--a dynamic biological library, rather than static strings of code. Geneticist Kat Arney explores the intricacies of how, out of this seeming genetic chaos, life is created.

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About the Author:

Kat Arney is a science writer and broadcaster working for Cancer Research UK, the Naked Scientists, the BBC and other outlets. Her work has been published in the Guardian, Science, New Scientist, BBC Online, and Al-Jazeera Online. This is her first book. She lives in London, England.

Review:

"[Arney] delivers an alluring tale of science at its most humble and probing, at least as practiced by the company of skeptics and scientific investigators . . . A robust, bouncy, pellucid introduction to DNA and genetics." ―starred review, Kirkus Reviews

"Writing in a breezy, irreverent style, Arney, a science journalist specializing in genetics, explores what is known about the inner workings of the genome. Her results are both fascinating and surprising." ―Publishers Weekly

"The author is often highly amusing, and she knows her stuff . . . An intelligent and engaging look at human genetics." ―Library Journal

"As readers look over the investigators’ shoulders . . . Arney has well primed her readers to share the intellectual excitement sure to come when today’s pioneers announce their findings." ―Booklist

"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

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781472910042

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781472910042

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