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Cracking the Genome: Inside the Race to Unlock Human DNA Paperback – October 29, 2002
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If the double helix is the prevailing image of the twentieth century, just as the steam engine signified the nineteenth century, then the sequence--the vast expanse of 3 billion As, Cs, Gs, and Ts--is destined to define the century to come.... The childhood of the human race is about to come to an end.
These are strong words, but few other fields provide a stronger basis for such hope. Cracking the Genome gives us the chance to catch up with the present while the future races on. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
"The $1,000 Genome" is Kevin's third book, and second for the Free Press. He published "Cracking the Genome," about the race for the Human Genome Project, in 2000. His first book, "Breakthrough," co-authored with Michael White, was about the race to identify the "breast cancer gene" in the mid-90s.
Top Customer Reviews
Other than that, I am enjoying the book, and I have gotten some comprehension of the problems that the genetecists are trying to solve. For example, his description of Craig Venter's technique of sequencing cDNA is quite good.Read more ›
I've been an engineer in the DOE genome program for about 10 years now. Many of the stories in the book I've heard first hand from people who were either in the room or were participants in the events. It is as accurate a version as any I've seen. Usually I shy away from these types of books but this one is a must read if you really want to get beyond the hype of the popular press.
The story of the Human Genome Project itself, which is an illustration of how the private sector can succeed where government funded projects have difficulties, is interesting in itself. Even outside of the medical and ethical implications, this story is worth reading for that information alone.
But where this book really provides important food for thought is in the medical and ethical arena. It is now possible to find the location and coding for diseases and potential diseases using this information. How will we use this information? To create cures for devastating degenerative diseases like Huntington's, to find cures for the incurable? Or will we use it to deny medical care to people deemed potential insurance risks.
One thing that came out of the study was the surprising small number of genes that comprise the genome--one third the number that had long been predicted. Clearly, the genome is an instruction set, and the blueprints to build a human, and the errors that create disease, are written in how the genes are interpreted by the biological mechanism.
How we should utilize this information, for good or evil, in years to come will surely be some of the most controversial and important discussions we will have. This book is an excellent place to start in order to understand the basis of this world-shaking achievement.
Many books about scientific advances focus a lot on the science. Cracking the Genome does that as well, but the book is improved by considering the personalities of the people involved, their interactions, public policy questions, ethical discussions, and science fiction like speculations about the eventual shape of the scientific applications of this work. These perspectives are valuable for expanding your understanding, as well as for making the book much more interesting.
Frankly, the book could have used a little more science. I recommend that you read the recent book, Genome, as well which will give you a more detailed understanding of the underlying structure of the genome and how it works.
The Human Genome Project was originally conceived of as a public project funded by three billion dollars in taxpayer money taking 15 years. At the half-way point in the project, only 4 percent of the human genome had been sequenced. A one-time NIH (National Institutes of Health) neuroscience researcher, J. Craig Ventor, had been arguing unsuccessfully for a computer-based "brute force" method as faster and cheaper. All of the M.D.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the second Kevin Davies book I have read (The $1,000 Genome: The Revolution in DNA Sequencing and the New Era of Personalized Medicine) genomics and human disease. Read morePublished on July 17, 2012 by Dominick J. Lemas
This book is not only about genetics or the human genome. It is more about the 50 years or more of research that lead to the "cracking" of the human genome, trying to cover the... Read morePublished on August 5, 2008 by A. Panda
This is not a book that will tell you the specifics of exactly how the genome is being/has been mapped. If that's what you want, get another book. Read morePublished on July 22, 2003 by MissAdenine
Ken Davies has written an informed observer's account of the passionate race to solve what some believe to be the most profound scientific riddle of our era: decoding the human... Read morePublished on August 20, 2001 by Rolf Dobelli
While informative, I keep wishing John McPhee had written this book. It's interesting material written choppily, without drawing us into the story.Published on May 26, 2001
I bought this book last week, and I'm about half way through it. I have a problem with Davies explanations of the "gene searches" that he recounts. Read morePublished on February 25, 2001
I am an avid popular science reader and very much enjoyed reading this book--a nice blend of science and more personal aspects in the genome and very readable! Read morePublished on January 19, 2001
The story of the race for the genome is a fascinating one, and Davies is the first to tell the story of J. Read morePublished on January 7, 2001 by Tim Sandefur