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Jacob's Ladder: The History of the Human Genomeby Henry Gee
Synopses & Reviews
Jacob's Ladder delivers a remarkably lucid explanation of what the sequencing of the human genome really tells us. Decoding the sequence, evolutionary biologist Henry Gee shows, is just the beginning: seeing the letters and words. The next frontier is in understanding snatches of conversation between genes--how they interact to direct the growth of an organism. Gee takes us into the heart of that conversation, illuminating how genes govern a single egg cell's miraculous transformation into a human being, and how they continue to direct that person's day-by-day development throughout a lifetime.
Gee tells the story of what we know about the genome today and what we are likely to discover tomorrow. As our knowledge advances, we will be able to direct with increasing authority the conversations between genes: not only performing medical interventions but also creating whole scripts directing birth, ancestry, and diversity in a brave new world.
Book News Annotation:
In this accessible general audience treatment, a London science writer asks whether the recent decoding of the human genetic code could or should fulfill the biblical story of Jacob's vision of his descendants becoming angels. Gee traces the understanding of human life from developmental, modern evolutionary biological, and historical theoretical viewpoints. To explain individuality and human-mediated directions in evolution, he stresses focusing on the total genome rather than on isolated genes.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
What makes us as humans all alike and yet as individuals so different?
Evolutionary biologist Gee delivers a remarkably lucid explanation of what the sequencing of the human genome really tells us--and explains that the next frontier is understanding how they interact to direct the growth of an organism.
About the Author
Henry Gee, former Regents Professor at UCLA, is a science writer for Nature. He lives in London.
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