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Life Script: How the Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine and Enhance Your Health Paperback – September 17, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (September 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743223187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743223188
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

By now a familiar name to readers of the New York Times "Science Times" section, Wade, who has written and edited books under the Times aegis, here tells the increasingly familiar tale of the biologists whose race for knowledge, wealth and scientific celebrity led to the first sequencing of the human genome. His stated aim is to describe the "dawning of the genomic revolution," which represents "a new starting point for science and medicine, with potential impact on every disease." In clean prose, an evenly paced narrative economy and a welter of carefully marshaled facts, Wade hits his mark admirably. After lucid chapters on the race itself, Wade settles into the implications of its conclusion. Through genotyping, Wade recounts, doctors will be able to match drugs to patients and isolate disease-causing variant genes. Someday, Wade surmises, the scalpel could be replaced by the use of therapeutic cells and proteins, and our life spans considerably enhanced by the careful manipulation of genes. Although he dismisses most criticism as "invocations of eugenics" or "effectively luddite," Wade warns that the true dangers of genome engineering "lie in the question of what changes should be permitted, if any, other than those directly related to health." Without dumbing down the issues or clogging them with data, Wade allows readers to ponder such questions for themselves. Agent: Peter Matson, Sterling Lord Literistic (Sept. 6)Forecast: Wade's name will be familiar to some, and reviews will make it so to others. This book may not fly off the shelves, but it may prove to be one of the more solid genomic fortune-telling books around, and should sell as such.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This awe-inspiring account of how the human genome was decoded and its effect on health, medicine, and society is culled primarily from articles that appeared in the New York Times. A former contributor to Nature and Science, Wade is currently a reporter for the Times and the author of four books, including The Science Times Book of Genetics. Intended for the general reader, this volume initially recounts the drama behind the race between the public (academic) and private (commercial) sectors competing to be the first to sequence the human genome. The other half of the text explores how this achievement will perplex ethicists, aid medical research, and ultimately benefit humanity for decades to come. Wade weaves the history of genomics (the study of genes and their function) into the practical and imminent results of the genome project, namely, curing disease and delaying aging. This riveting book is not a typical consumer health title and would have benefited from a glossary. However, its vital information and first-rate storytelling surely deserve a place in large public libraries and large consumer health collections. Gail Hendler, New York Univ. Medical Ctr.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Plus on October 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Wade, who writes science articles for the New York Times, has documented in this book the personalities and the sequence of events leading up to the publication of the first draft of the Human Genome in June of 2000. No doubt the real history behind this project will be more thoroughly explored by historians some day, and Wade's compedium of journalism will count as a major contribution to this scholarly effort.
He doesn't quite understand the real implications of applied genomics technology, however. While he does seem personally intrigued by the prospect of regenerative medicine, radical rejuvenation and life extension made possible by applied genomics (in other words, he's not impressed by Leon R. Kass's argument for the "wisdom of repugnance" regarding human transformation), at the same time he's intimidated by psychological scarecrows about the allegedly bad social consequences this scenario could cause. Our social institutions are currently organized around people dying "on schedule," as horrific as that sounds, so Wade wonders what would happen if people were to live well past 100 in good physical and cognitive health.
For one thing, considering that people's social skills tend to improve with age and experience, a world run by "ultramature" people couldn't be run any worse than the way our world is now. Life-extended entrepreneurs could continue to create new businesses, wealth and jobs (especially important considering that honest financial success is not a zero-sum situation). Life-extended statesmen could resolve conflicts and finally create a decent international political order. Life-extended environmentalists could study changes in the biosphere over longer intervals and warn of potential dangers. Etc.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David Siegel on October 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not a bad book, but the title and subtitle are wrong. It starts with the obligatory 2 chapters on Watson, Hazeltine, and Venter that anyone can read on any number of web sites, so it really doesn't get going until page 90, and then the last two chapters are the obligatory angel/devil arguments of morality that almost anyone can write at this point. What's left in the middle has problems with repetition and lack of focus. There are one or two really interesting factoids in this book, but zero insight and no real value. (...)
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More About the Author


Nicholas Wade is the author of three books about recent human evolution. They are addressed to the general reader interested in knowing what the evolutionary past tells us about human nature and society today.
One, Before the Dawn, published in 2006, traces how people have evolved during the last 50,000 years.
The second book, The Faith Instinct (2009), argues that because of the survival advantage of religion, an instinct for religious behavior was favored by natural selection among early human societies and became universal in all their descendants.
A Troublesome Inheritance (2014), the third of the trilogy, looks at how human races evolved.
Wade was born in Aylesbury, England, and educated at Eton and at King's College, Cambridge, where he studied natural sciences. He became a journalist writing about scientific issues, and has worked at Nature and Science, two weekly scientific magazines, and on the New York Times.






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