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A Short Guide to the Human Genome Paperback – April 29, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0879697914 ISBN-10: 0879697911 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''It s a fun little review; appropriate for browsing during your in-between time. As the title emphasizes this guide is characterized by extreme brevity, under 200 pages. Nevertheless it attempts a survey of the major results which have come to light over the past decade in human genomics.'' --Razib Khan, GeneExpression

''Scherer has compiled a wonderful text that not only answers many of the kinds of questions that I can think to ask about the human genome, but the kinds of questions that I get from my students and other instructors. The whole book in fact consists of questions and answers.

Although the book truly is short in length, 173 pages including the index, it s long on the kinds of answers that you'd like to have at your fingertips. These kinds of analyses are not readily available from skimming the databases. I know from personal experience that gathering these kinds of data and compiling them so nicely in tables and readily accessible summaries takes time and effort. Clearly, Scherer has spent many hours doing the research to put this book together.

As a researcher, I would want 'A Short Guide to the Human Genome' for quick reference. As an instructor, this text is going to serve as a really great source of questions to ask my students. I also think, since it mostly addresses the human genome, the questions inside suggest a wealth of potential student projects with genomes from other organisms.'' --Sandra Porter, FinchTalk

''The most surprising aspect [of this book] is that the author presents many personal analyses of raw data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information's database. This is appealing as it reflects new analyses instead of published ones. In fact, Scherer makes a distinction throughout between the 'sequenced' and 'complete' genomes because the raw sequence itself is not even finished...

A second appealing aspect is the author s recognition of simple questions for which published analyses are not easily found. For example, what is the single base composition in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes? What are the largest genes? What are the largest proteins?...

[T]he author has labored in providing a powerful barrage of data for potent questions.'' --The Quarterly Review of Biology

About the Author

About the author: Stewart Scherer received a BS in Biology from Caltech in 1977 and a PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford in 1982, and then returned to Caltech for postdoctoral work. From 1986 through 1996 he was in the Microbiology Department of the University of Minnesota. While at Minnesota, he spent time working at the LBL Human Genome Center. Since leaving Minnesota, he has focused on bioinformatics, both in industry and in the analysis of the Candida albicans genome. After lecturing on genomics at Caltech in 2004, his efforts have centered on writing about the human genome.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 1 edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879697911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879697914
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.5 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Lu on June 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
I like this book a lot. It has a question and answer format where each topic is covered in one or two pages. This allows you to open the book almost anywhere and have a short, interesting read and discover a factoid or two. Perfect for the coffee-table. The many graphs and plots provide good visualizations of the information and compliment the text well.

That said, this book is definitely for the advanced reader, someone who is well versed in genetic research. Almost all technical terms are used without introduction or explanation. Just one example, the reader is expected to know what small nuclear RNAs (snRNA) are and something about their nomenclature (U1, U2, etc) to make sense of the answer to the question "What is the size distribution of snRNA genes and related sequences in the genome?" (page 58). Also, many times, lists of gene abbreviations are given along with two word functional descriptions. It helps to have a degree in cell biology if you want to make sense of these right away. This book provides "the facts and just the facts" when presenting answers to the questions it poses. The experienced reader is expected to connect the dots and draw their own conclusions. You won't find much speculation about the "big picture" or the meaning behind most of the interesting tidbits here.

Overall, a very nice book for scientists into genetics or cell biology. If you are looking for an introductory text written in lay terms, this is not the short guide you are looking for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deng-Ke Niu on October 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The beginning of data manuals in biology.

As a theoretical biologist, I sometime complain that we have almost no handbooks on common vlaues of biological characters. By contrast, it is very easy to find such a book, like "Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants". To construct a hypothesis, often, you may need to know the sizes of introns and exons, the number of SINE in a genome, the weight of mouse liver. Before, we have to Search the values in dozens of papers, or study them by ourselves. The passion on an idea may be passed after a long-time lay-aside.

In reality, there are very few biological constants, the body weight of mice may vary several times. However, for most biologists, we do not need the exact value, but a relative size , or a range and median/mean value is OK.

Now, I see a handbook, to me, the book of Stewart Scherer, A Short Guide to the Human Genome, is the first useful one. Maybe, it marks a begining of a new era for theoretical biology. We welcome the author to expand the book to included all the values of common model organisms such as fission and budding yeast, C. elegan, fly, mice, etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sasamus on August 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book pretty much is what it says, a SHORT guide to the human genome. Lots of stats and lists which is very much what I wanted (e.g. for teaching slides / lessons), so that was good. However, unless you already know what you're looking for, it could be difficult to draw any conclusions form the numbers, as there really isn't much discussion at all. The whole book is also rather short. I read through it in ~2 hrs. Nice collection of stats.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The matter of fact presentation on frequently asked questions about the Human Genome is superbly arrangent as answers to whatever you had liked to know about it. The information is well supported by intelligent graphical illustrations. This short booklet presents an invaluable asset for every biologist, students as well as teachers and researchers. Some basic biological knowledge is required for fully benefiting from this book.
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