The Science Times Book of Genetics

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9781558217652: The Science Times Book of Genetics

The best up-to-date journalism on genetics from the Science Times section of "The New York Times". Nicholas Wade, Natalie Angier, Gina Kolata, and other award-winning "Times" writers serve as interpreters and translators of the latest news from the laboratories. They convert technical and perplexing breakthroughts into an enthralling pursuit of news frontiers. Line drawings throughout.

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Still going through what editor Nicholas Wade calls its "gestational stage," the nascent field of genetics has introduced scientific complexities--and ethical quandaries--that we've only just begun to comprehend. Former New York Times editor and reporter for that paper's acclaimed Science Times section, the ever-articulate Wade has assembled more than 40 articles (including many written by him) tackling the forefront of this young, ambitious field. With the promise of curing cancer, cloning entire organisms, extending life, and perhaps even changing the course of human evolution itself, it's no surprise that genetics has grabbed more than its share of headlines: "Big Picture of Cancer Process Is Being Seen for the First Time," "Can Life Span Be Extended? Biologists Offer Some Hope," "Making an Embryo: Biologists Find Keys to Body Plan."

Along with these attention-grabbers, Wade includes numerous articles that just flesh out the background of the field or that explore the significance of particular genes--"To People the World, Start with Five Hundred" explains how mitochondrial DNA has been used to trace humanity to a surprisingly small ancestral pool, while "Modern 'Wolfmen' May Have Inherited Ancient Gene" shows how atavistic traits can get you a job in a freak show. Rigorous enough for the scientist but not too esoteric for the layperson, this collection provides an approachable, informative primer on the field. --Paul Hughes

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