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The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231161169
ISBN-10: 0231161166
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Anyone seriously interested in who we are and how we function should read this book.

(Peter Forbes The Guardian)

Nessa Carey takes us on a lively and up-to-date tour of what's known about epigenetic mechanisms and their implications for ageing and cancer.

(Laurence Hurst, University of Bath Focus Magazine)

[Nessa Carey's] book combines an easy style with a textbook's thoroughness.... A bold attempt to bring epigenetics to a wide audience.

(Jonathan Weitzman Nature)

Carey's report on the rapidly developing state of epigenetics research may help nonscientists with public-policy, investment, and health-care decisions.

(Booklist)

An exhilarating exploration of an exciting new field, and a good gift for a bright biologystudent looking for a career choice.

(Kirkus Reviews)

An enlightening introduction to what scientists have learned in the past decade about [epigenetics].

(Carl Zimmer The Wall Street Journal)

This book provides an excellent introduction to a fascinating new field that may revolutionize our understanding of human health and disease. Highly recommended.

(Library Journal)

A must-read for every intelligent person who likes to know what is going on in modern science.

(Graham Storrs New York Journal of Books)

[Carey] provides an excellent and largely accurate account of a fascinating and fast-moving area of modern biology.

(Jonathan Hodgkin Times Literary Supplement)

Written in an engaging manner using everyday metaphors to clarify complex concepts and utilizing well–defined diagrams, the author has produced an outstanding book with her wit and expertise.

(Rita Hoots NSTA Recommends (National Science Teachers Association))

[A] mercifully clear writer.

(Katharine Whittemore The Boston Globe)

About the Author

Nessa Carey is a visiting professor at Imperial College in London and currently works in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, where she has specialized in epigenetics for nearly a decade. She has strong relationships with leading epigenetics researchers, medical labs in Europe, and with some of the most prestigious institutions in the United States, including the Harvard Medical School, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Wistar Institute.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 1 edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231161166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231161169
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gavin Scott on June 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books that introduces an entirely new and fascinating topic. A similar work would be Chaos: Making a New Science which introduced the concepts of chaotic dynamical systems at a time when even many practitioners of the sciences would not have heard of it.

Similarly, this book introduces the discoveries in epigenetics (epi- meaning "on", or a layer on top of classical genetics) and pretty much all of this will be new information unless you have been actively working in the field of cell biology over the past few years.

The book talks about the paradigm shift that is occurring as cell biologists are realizing that this epigenetic information is as complex and important to the correct function of life as the underlying DNA genome, and even allows for Lamarckian inheritance in certain cases where an offspring's own epigenetic information and phenotype can be influenced by that of the parents, meaning that some environmental effects in a parent's life can directly influence future generations.

Also much of the non-protein-coding genome that for many years was considered to be unimportant "junk" is now turning out to be very important as it can be transcribed into functional RNA molecules that perform important functions. The book contains a simple graphic showing that the ratio of the non-protein-coding DNA to that of traditional protein coding genes increases in direct proportion with the complexity of the organism. The fundamental genes and proteins between say a chimpanzee and a human are virtually identical and it now begins to look as though it's that "junk" DNA that makes all the difference.

This is a fascinating look at recent developments in the ever-accelerating biological revolution and I highly recommend it to everyone who yearns to understand how life works.

G.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Word of warning - I may gush! I'm no biologist, but Nessa Carey manages to make epigenetics clear and incredibly interesting to me. This is not an easy read, in that it requires one to think and occasionally to do a little mental gymnastics to get one's head around the concepts she introduces, but nevertheless it's the kind of book that can be gulped down in large servings because Carey is skilled at explaining these high-falutin' concepts so well.

The topics range from inherited traits to cloning and back again, and I found even the descriptions of how certain experiments were undertaken were such that they read incredibly well. This is a book that could havebeen dry as dust, but it's not.

I think probably one where the time taken to read the sample is well spent - I'm sure some people just won't find this that interesting - but if you are at all interested in science, biology, DNA, and the mystery of how things are and aren't passed on, then this is a must read. Absorbing, educational, and downright fascinating. Brilliant.
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Format: Hardcover
I am writing as a person with a graduate degree in Bioinformatics with a special interest in epigenetics, and I can confidently say that this is one of the clearest introductory presentations of epigenetics that I have encountered. The book is written at the undergraduate level, but it is not simplistic. It hits all the high points of epigenetics and pulls together the latest in research into this fascinating area of science. Anyone with a rudimentary background in genetics should have no trouble absorbing the concepts articulated in this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a refreshingly erudite and informative book! It was in-depth, at times jam packed with information, particularly for a person with no biology background, but the author went to great length to explain in a very understandable manner some of the complexity of epigenetics, genetics and the current state of our knowledge about these subjects. I highly recommend this book for the interested reader.
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Format: Hardcover
Some readers may find this review of a critically important emerging field of science over detailed. It's not written for lightweights or readers of US Today. But it's well worth the time and effort and yields a host of fascinating facts, observations and predictions. Its subject matter is the very essence of life, your life and those around you. It is, as the title infers, revolutionary. The understanding of how we influence our genes (and of course are influenced by them) is changing rapidly and the author clearly has a magnificent grasp of the facts, the science and researchers on the cutting edge. A number of her predictions have already come true (including the latest Nobel Prize winners) and her speculations about the future alone are worth the price. I rate the book 4 (rather than 5) as it dwells excessively on details of biochemistry that, for the layman, might seem unnecessary to understand the bigger picture. But that aside it was absolutely fascinating and thought provoking.

This book may be obsolete in 2 years so pick it up now and be amazed by what has been learned and humbled by how much has yet to understood.
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Format: Hardcover
The Epigenetic Revolution, How modern Biology is Rewriting our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance. This book is about the recent developments in epigenetics: interesting, fascinating, exciting, marvelous and sometimes mind-boggling. But not a revolution, epigenetics is not really overthrowing anything, but discovering a lot; it is not re-writing our understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance, it is actually simply writing it. That being said, cut out the hype and you have a fascinating book, a GREAT introduction to epigenetics, a field in which quite some developments happened in the past decade.

Epigenetics in the broad sense is anything that influences the expression of genes. We have known for decades that there must be something more than just the genetic code (hence not revolutionary), since our cells are quite different, while having the same DNA. What epigenetics is doing is discovering the mechanisms. A journey of discovery rather than a revolution.
So far the methylation of cytosine (cytosine pre guanine: CpG) in DNA and the acetylation of histone-tails and accompanying cascades appear to be the most important mechanisms.
Why are identical twins not identical? How are half the X chromosomes switched off (at least in female eutherian mammals)? Why don't we grow teeth in our eyes? How does imprinting found in mammals and flowering plants work? That -and quite a bit more- is expression of genes, and that is what epigenetics is all about. And this book will give you insight.
The implications for possible therapies for a range of pathologies, from autism to cancer, are fascinating, potentially much more promising than the disappointing gene therapies. As yet -the author is honestly clear on that- only just that: potential promises.
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