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Download Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters fb2, epub

by Matt Ridley

Download Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters fb2, epub

ISBN: 0007226217
Author: Matt Ridley
Language: English
Publisher: HarperPerennial; New e. edition (October 3, 2005)
Pages: 352
Subcategory: Science
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 125
Size Fb2: 1954 kb
Size ePub: 1872 kb
Size Djvu: 1719 kb
Other formats: azw lit lit rtf


Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters is a 1999 popular science book by the science writer Matt Ridley, published by Fourth Estate.

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters is a 1999 popular science book by the science writer Matt Ridley, published by Fourth Estate. The chapters are numbered for the pairs of human chromosomes, one pair being the X and Y sex chromosomes, so the numbering goes up to 22. The book was welcomed by critics in journals such as Nature and newspapers including The New York Times.

The book is divided into 23 chapters, representing the 23 different sets of chromosomes in the human body. The concept fascinated me, and I thought that if the author had enough of a sense of humor to write a book this way, why not give it a try? I'm not going to pretend that I understood 100% of the book, but the parts I did understand, I appreciated.

Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23. .The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.

Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters.

Matt Ridley is the award-winning, bestselling author of several books, including The Rational Optimist: How . He makes dry topics sound interesting, stimulating and geniuinely exciting - all of which makes the book a page turner

Matt Ridley is the award-winning, bestselling author of several books, including The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves; Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters; and The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature. He makes dry topics sound interesting, stimulating and geniuinely exciting - all of which makes the book a page turner. He does a very good, albeit not flawless, job of explaining biological/genetic concepts for the laymen.

The human genome, the complete set of genes housed in twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, is nothing less than an autobiography of our species

The human genome, the complete set of genes housed in twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, is nothing less than an autobiography of our species. With the first draft of the human genome due to be published in 2000, we, this lucky generation, are the first beings who are able to read this extraordinary book and to gain hitherto unimaginable insights into what it means.

Get books you want Acclaimed author Matt Ridley's thrilling follow-up to his bestseller Genome

Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. Acclaimed author Matt Ridley's thrilling follow-up to his bestseller Genome. Boasting almost one hundred pieces, The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing is a breathtaking celebration of the finest writing by scientists-the best such collection in print-packed with scintillating essays on everything from "The Discovery of Lucy".

Genome, a book of about 100,000 words, is divided into 23 chapters, a chapter for each chromosome. The first chromosome, for example, contains our oldest genes, genes which we have in common with plants. Genome also argues for the genetic foundations of free will.

The number 23 is of no significance

The number 23 is of no significance. Many species, including our closest relatives among the apes, have more chromosomes, and many have fewer. Nor do genes of similar function and type necessarily cluster on the same chromosome. So a few years ago, leaning over a lap-top computer talking to David Haig, an evolutionary biologist, I was slightly startled to hear him say that chromosome 19 was his favourite chromosome. You now know why the last chapter of a book that boasts in its subtide that it has twenty-three chapters is called Chapter 22. It is, at first glance, a most misleading thing that I have done.

Genome, a book of about 100, 000 words, is divided into 23 chapters, a chapter for each chromosome. On 1 June 2010 Monbiot followed up his previous article in the context of Matt Ridley's book 'The Rational Optimist', which had just been published. Monbiot took the view that Ridley had failed to learn from the collapse of Northern Rock.

The more we delve into the genome the less fatalistic it will seem. Grey indeterminacy, variable causality and vague predisposition are the hallmarks of the system. This is not because what I said in previous chapters about simple, particulate inheritance is wrong, but because simplicity piled upon simplicity creates complexity. The genome is as complicated and indeterminate as ordinary life, because it is ordinary life. This should come as a relief.

Comments:

Perdana
As a molecular biologist, I read it for perspective. I think the average person would be surprised by the science and the content. It is well written and well grounded in science
dermeco
Was disappointed at the date of the book . Originally published in 1999 , then 2002 , then 2006 . At that age the book is barely relevant to today's fast pace . Amazon should go out it's way to specifically note the latest published date especially with tech books.
Not a keeper
Ishnsius
Although ostensibly about DNA and the human genome, it is actually more of a philosophical view of the human condition using a handful of genes as examples of the way us naked apes function, mentally, physically, emotionally, even socially. The book thankfully does not often get heavily into the deep scientific aspects of DNA research.

For the most part, an entertaining book written in a generally engaging manner. As mentioned elsewhere, it is a bit uneven. Sometimes Mr. Ridley had to really reach to come up with a gene that he could write about, or enough to say about it to pad the article out to chapter length. Somewhere around chromosome 17 or 18, I don't know if he started running out of steam or I did. Don't try to read the whole thing continuously; take a few days off between chapters, you'll find it easier to maintain enthusiasm.
Ionzar
I bought this book as a text book for a class I was dreading. I am NOT a math or science person, but the subject matter is of interest. This book is a pleasant surprise. It dumbs down the material enough for us novices, but still is written intelligently where we have to reach a bit to understand it. I actually enjoyed most of the book and couple with my professor's teaching style, I learned and retained a lot more than I imagined. Would be a great book as an introduction for personal knowledge and growth, for math and science people as well as those of us who are not.
Malaris
I would give the book 4.5 stars. With a Masters degree in molecular biology, I was able to understand all (well, nearly all) of the biological, evolutionary and genetic concepts introduced and discussed in the book. However, I surmise that someone without a degree/knowledge of biology, and in particular molecular genetics, some concepts in the book may be slightly difficult to understand fully.

However, having said that, Matt Ridley is an outstanding writer. He makes dry topics sound interesting, stimulating and geniuinely exciting - all of which makes the book a page turner. He does a very good, albeit not flawless, job of explaining biological/genetic concepts for the laymen. However, I would recommend, especially for the laymen, to read slower in order to really understand what the author is saying. It's easy to understand the big picture, but to truly understand the topics/concepts the author discusses occasionally requires re-reading some passages and paying attention to details.

The only complaint, is that despite Ridley's otherwise excellent explanations, it seems that at times he is in a hurry and glosses over some concepts, leaving the reader on his/her own to grasp the concepts. However, this does not happen too frequently in the book, and either way someone else may have a different interpretation from me.

None of the above, I should note, should be taken as though Ridley's writing is difficult and/or technical. It absolutely is not. It is written in an easy prose, with very little technical jargon, which even when present, is explained fully. The occasional difficulty noted above, lies not with linguistics, but with biological/genetic concepts.

Otherwise, I highly recommend for anyone!
Delagamand
Although I've read books about DNA before, this one had quite a few new surprises and insights in it. For instance, each time a cell duplicates itself (during embyology or in the process of everyday bodily upkeep), a cell copies its DNA, but fails to copy the first few letters of each DNA strand. Thus the strand gets a little shorter each time it is copied. Each chromosome is equipped with a "telomere", a several-thousand letter buffer zone on the ends which can be safely discarded. Thus, one of the limits to human life spans (or other animals for that matter) is the number of times a cell can be duplicated before it starts to lose meaningful DNA. The DNA of sex cells do not shorten when copied because of a repair enzyme known as telomerase. Perhaps immortality depends upon (among other things) using telomerase in other cells.

Cells must be able to duplicate in order to repair damage due to daily wear and tear. But the duplication must be kept under strict control; cancer is the uncontrolled duplication of cells. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy work by damaging cell DNA, which triggers the body's own tumor-suppression genes to cause the tumor cells to self-destruct.

I had never heard before that genes can be switched on and off in response to external events, and that give a whole new dynamic view to the genome. Ridley explains that most genes in most cells at any given time are "turned off". But, for example, the body makes cortisol in response to stress, and cortisol is made by switching on a gene that produces an enzyme to convert cholesterol into cortisol. He gives the impression that this is not some isolated case, but commonplace in everyday events. This leads to implications on free will vs. genetic determinism.

Free will
Ridley gives the best description of free will I've ever heard: "If genes can affect behavior and behavior can affect genes, then the causality is circular. And in a system of circular feedbacks, hugely unpredictable results can follow from simple deterministic processes." This is an example of a chaotic system, like the weather. Tiny variations in input conditions soon yield enormous differences in output, and the weather is thus unpredictable in detail beyond a few days in advance (although we know general patterns, such as the fact that summer will be warmer than winter). "This interaction of genetic and external influences makes my behavior unpredictable, but not undetermined. In the gap between those words lies freedom."

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