- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Arrow Books; New Ed edition (April 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099451840
- ISBN-13: 978-0099451846
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.3 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,751,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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DNA: The Secret of Life Paperback – April 1, 2004
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James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA and author of the international bestseller "The Double Helix" tells the story of the amazing molecule since its discovery fifty years ago, following modern genetics from his own Nobel prize-winning work in the fifties to today's Dolly the sheep, designer babies and GM foods. Professor Watson introduces the science of modern genetics, along with its history and its implications, in this magnificent guide to one of the most triumphant achievements of human science.
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And thank you to the 3rd party bookseller Aberg books - the book is out of print but was in perfect new condition.
I found Watson's writing style easily approachable and targeted to the advanced high school or college educated reader. The interjection of personal stories and encounters that Watson had with various researchers provided insights that only one of the discoverers of the structure of this molecule could provide. Watson has often been viewed as a polarizing figure, and his writing pulls no punches on certain topics such as the ethical nature of genetic testing, evolution of humans, the race to describe the human genome, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While making clear his own views on these topics, he provides enough information that the critical reader is left with a feeling that many of the dilemmas presented by the DNA molecule are complex and have no "right" answer.
I can appreciate the difficulty of setting the scope for a subject that can expand in so many directions, but the focus of several chapters still seem less than completely coherent. The result is that those chapters felt out of place... but on the other hand they were interesting enough in themselves.
Oddly, Watson never tried to support his thesis that DNA is the secret of life, rather than one of the products of life.
On a subject as rapidly changing as the study of DNA, individual years make a difference in the content. The book I bought was a later edition than the one the local library had and it was noticeably updated.