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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 the Unknown Binding edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.
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. Also, his description of the method (divide and conquer) Venter et. al. used to speed up the sequencing of the whole Genome of some kinds of bacteria was quite intuitive. Although here again, the magic of the computer program algorithmically re-assembling the pieces of sequenced DNA was a bit mysterious. His historical accounts of the scientists, the politics, the agencies, etc, is quite good.
Overall, I would recommend this book. Especially if you don't care as much about the technical details as I do. And even if you do, perhaps a textbook companion would help.
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.