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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Decoding Your Genes Paperback – July 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; 1 edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028635868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028635866
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,054,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

You're no idiot, of course. You suspect that you inherited your blue eyes from your mother and your rapier wit from your dad. But when it comes to understanding how genes are handed down, you'd have better luck teaching Dolly the lamb to talk. Don't send in the clones yet! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Decoding Your Genes uses everyday language to explain the role genes play in shaping who we are. In this Complete Idiot's Guide, you get:

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By half on October 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
The author does not have a strong enough grasp upon the subject to write this book. Among the book's worst shortcomings are its endless repetitions of the same basic facts (without rewarding the reader by expanding those facts in later chapters), and its frustrating off-topic meanderings into historical anecdotes and discussion of TV shows, none of which add to the knowledge that I sought; I suppose these were meant to serve as some sort of mnemonic device, but they only hindered my progress.

In the end, after I forced myself to read almost every page of this book, I felt that I learned nothing more than I had gleaned from the first couple of chapters. How are different genes identified? How do they sit relative to each other? How does the DNA actually work with the RNA to generate different protiens? Maybe a picture or five could have helped? Maybe a word or two about current research efforts? Why did I have to read the same basic things 18 or 20 times? In every chapter?

Thankfully, I managed to find a far, FAR, FAR better alternative introduction to genetics. It is Genetics for Dummies, by Tara Rodden Robinson. She is a thoughtful author who really knows the topic inside out. Even more pleasing was when I found out afterwards that she is a working scientist and an award-winning teacher of genetics. I wish I had found her book first.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert Pickett on June 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
An enjoyable read. Great at explaining the very involved world of genetics. You'll come away amazed by what you've learned about what really goes on in your cells, what problems arise when genes go wrong, and how it all fits together to make us possible.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daphne S. on February 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick reference for anything that has to do with genetic engineering or cloning in any way, shape or form. I have no background in biology, but I found this Complete Idiot's Guide extremely easy to follow, and fun to read as well. There are numerous boxes in each chapter that explain the derivation of some of the scientific names. I found this made it easier for me to remember what each word meant. I also enjoyed the (sometimes groan-inducing) puns and humor. I didn't think there was anything funny about genes, but there are some humorous titles to each chapter, and some jokes that make it easier to remember how these genetic processes take place. It takes some of the intimidation out of reading about a very cerebral subject.

There are also boxes in each chapter with fascinating stories related to genetic technolgies. For instance, a detective followed a man highly suspected of a crime. The man was on a motorcycle, and when he stopped for a red light, he spit in the street. The detective collected this and when a DNA test was run, the suspect's DNA proved to be the same as that collected at the scene of a crime.

I found that I learned a tremendous amount about basic genetics from the introductory chapters. This made it easier for me to go on to the chapters about how DNA was discovered, and how DNA is cut and then pasted into diverging life forms to create novel plants and animals. There are illustrations that clearly show how, for example, Dolly the sheep was cloned, and how bacteria with novel genes are put into plants, giving them new characteristics to make them impervious to disease or to give them other desired traits.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am a middle school teacher and I used this book in my classroom to supplement the text the students already have and they absolutely loved it! Not to mention the students got a kick out of the title of this book. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to know ANYTHING about genes or heredity. It is easy enough for a child to understand, but interesting enough for a person of any age. Great book!
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