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Epigenetics: How Environment Shapes Our Genesby Richard C. Francis
Synopses & Reviews
The burgeoning new science of epigenetics offers a cornucopia of insights--some comforting, some frightening. For example, the male fetus may be especially vulnerable to certain common chemicals in our environment, in ways that damage not only his own sperm but also the sperm of his sons. And it's epigenetics that causes identical twins to vary widely in their susceptibility to dementia and cancer. But here's the good news: unlike mutations, epigenetic effects are reversible. Indeed, epigenetic engineering is the future of medicine.
"Francis's primer introduces a new field. It's a thorough guide to the many ways in which personality and health can play out through our genes but not be coded for in DNA."--Christine Kenneally, Slate
"Epigenetics explains all this in clear, no-nonsense prose. . . . One particularly excellent chapter explains epigenetic change through the body of steroid-addled baseball player José Canseco, from his brain to his testicles."--Josh Rothman, Boston Globe
Goodbye, genetic blueprint. . . . The first book for general readers on the game-changing field of epigenetics.
The potential is staggering. . . . The age of epigenetics has arrived. Time, January 2010 Epigenetic means on the gene, and the term refers to the recent discovery that stress in the environment can impact an individual's physiology so deeply that those biological scars are actually inherited by the next several generations. For instance, a recent study has shown that men who started smoking before puberty caused their sons to have significantly higher rates of obesity. And obesity is just the tip of the iceberg many researchers believe that epigenetics holds the key to understanding cancer, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism, and diabetes. Epigenetics is the first book for general readers on this fascinating and important topic. The book is driven by stories such as the Dutch famine of World War II, Jose Canseco and steroids, the breeding of mules and hinnies, Tazmanian devils and contagious cancer, and more.
About the Author
Richard C. Francis is a writer who has a PhD in biology from Stanford University. He is the author of Why Men Won't Ask for Directions. He lives in New York City.
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