Download PDF by Barry Barnes: Genomes and What to Make of Them

By Barry Barnes

ISBN-10: 0226172953

ISBN-13: 9780226172958

The assertion in 2003 that the Human Genome undertaking had accomplished its map of the complete human genome used to be heralded as a gorgeous medical leap forward: our first complete photo of the elemental construction blocks of human lifestyles. seeing that then, boasts in regards to the benefits—and warnings of the dangers—of genomics have remained front-page information, with everybody agreeing that genomics has the aptitude to appreciably adjust lifestyles as we all know it.
For the nonscientist, the claims and counterclaims are dizzying—what does it fairly suggest to appreciate the genome? Barry Barnes and John Dupré supply a solution to that question and lots more and plenty extra in Genomes and What to Make of Them, a transparent and energetic account of the genomic revolution and its promise. The ebook opens with a quick historical past of the technological know-how of genetics and genomics, from Mendel to Watson and Crick and the entire approach as much as Craig Venter; from there the authors delve into using genomics in picking out evolutionary paths—and what it will probably let us know, for instance, approximately how some distance we actually have come from our ape ancestors. Barnes and Dupré then think about either the facility and dangers of genetics, from the industrial power of plant genomes to overblown claims that convinced human genes might be without delay tied to such features as intelligence or homosexuality. finally, the authors argue, we're now dwelling with a brand new wisdom as strong in its means as nuclear physics­, and the stark offerings that face us—between organic battle and gene remedy, a brand new eugenics or a brand new agricultural revolution—will call for the complete engagement of either scientists and citizens. 

Written in basic language yet with no denying the complexity of the problems, Genomes and What to Make of Them is either an updated primer and a blueprint for the future.

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Example text

But while some researchers preferred to remain agnostic about them and to use them simply as tools, others with materialist inclinations speculated that they existed as tiny discrete particles of matter. And with good reason, this latter view became increasingly widespread over time. It was hard to understand mutation, and especially its induction by radiation and chemical reagents, other than as a transformation of matter. It was no less hard to understand the way that genes were localized on chromosomes in any terms other than those of a materialist beads-on-a-string or links-of-a-chain model.

To sequence an appropriate bit of DNA would identify the specifications for a particular protein. Suppose, however, that we could isolate and sequence all the DNA in the chromosomes of an organism. Then we would have the specifications for all the proteins in that organism. We would have the sequence of the genome of the whole organism, and within that sequence, somewhere, would be the sequences of all the genes. And thus, it was supposed, the human genome, defined as the entirety of the DNA in a human cell, would contain all the sequences relevant to producing a human, the Drosophila genome would have all those relevant to producing a fruit fly, and so forth.

And here matters are complicated in most complex organisms by the existence of sex. This may take many observable forms, from pollination in plants to the impregnation of females with sperm in animals, but it culminates in the fusion of two cells into one, the fertilized egg cell or zygote, the successive divisions of which eventually produce a fully formed adult of the next generation. Crucial insights into inheritance involving sexual reproduction were provided by the work of Gregor Mendel on pea plants.

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Genomes and What to Make of Them by Barry Barnes

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