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Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,601 Ratings  ·  614 Reviews
The human genome, the complete set of genes housed in twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, is nothing less than an autobiography of our species.

Spelled out in a billion three-letter words using the four-letter alphabet of DNA, the genome has been edited, abridged, altered and added to as it has been handed down, generation to generation, over more than three billion years.
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Paperback, 344 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 1999)
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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonA Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingCosmos by Carl SaganThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
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The Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonFreakonomics by Steven D. LevittIn Cold Blood by Truman CapoteA Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
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Kristin
Jul 26, 2011 Kristin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: real-life
I wish I could give this book 6 stars! It's really fantastic, and I want to recommend it to EVERYONE, but in my heart I know the tone would bore some of my friends... I suggest thinking of the author/narrator as a cool guy you'd be friends with telling you all this information, instead of a nerdy/haughty *scientist* ...He's not a scientist, he's a writer & former editor, & this isn't a textbook, but it could be--he's done his research & includes all his references. Just slightly out- ...more
Kay
Oct 03, 2011 Kay rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in genetics, intellectually curious people
A really great introduction to genetics. One of my friends, who studied chemistry in college, recommended the book to me. 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. While the writer does pr
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طارق
وأنا غارق في بحر هذا الكتاب, وجدتني لا شعوريا استحضر هذه الأبيات الحكيمة المنسوبة للإمام علي- عليه السلام:


دواؤك فيك وما تشعر *** وداؤك منك وما تُبصر
وتحسب أنّك جرم صغير*** وفيك انطوى العالم الأكبر
وأنت الكتاب المبين الذي*** بأحرفه يظهر المُضمَر

العجيب في الأمر أن المؤلف استخدم نفس التشبيه-الكتاب- للإشارة إلى الجينوم



لغير المتخصصين, مثلي, الكتاب يفتح بابا من المعرفة لم أكن أعلم أنه أصلا موجود

قد يكون مستغربا تقييم الثلاث نجمات, ولكنها الترجمة, وما أدراك ما الترجمة؟! روعة الكتاب تعتمد على أسلوب المؤ
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Nehal Elekhtyar
Oct 25, 2014 Nehal Elekhtyar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scientific

إنتهيت من قراءة أمتع كتاب علمى قرأته حتى الآن... كــ قارئة قبل ان اكون باحثة فى المجال العلمى تطرقت لقراءات متعددة وبأساليب مختلفة عن الجينوم وفى الغالب كنت اجدها تحمل الطابع العلمى البحت الجاف نوعاً ما وبالرغم من استعدادى للمعرفة الا اننى كنت اصاب بالملل ولابد من القراءة على فترات متقطعة .... لكن ان أقرأ كتاب علمى عن الجينوم تفوق صفحاته 400 صفحة وكأنى أقرأ رواية جذابة تأخذنى كل كلمة فيها ... قطعاً انه مات ريدلى القدير فى استعراض موضوع هام كهذا عن الجينوم او المادة الوراثية بإسلوب روائى رائع بدأ
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Douglas
Oct 07, 2014 Douglas rated it it was amazing
Even though this was written and published over 15 years ago, I found it relevant and revealing. Ridley is one of the better science writers, and this is assuredly his master work. Each chapter highlights a specific gene found on each of the 23 pairs of chromosomes. He repeatedly states that the book is not about disease, but it ultimately becomes a major theme and topic. The final chapters that discuss genetic determinism, eugenics, and nature vs nurture are treated with upmost care, empathy, a ...more
رغد قاسم
Nov 07, 2015 رغد قاسم rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: نثر, pdf, علمي
لست معتادة على قراءة الكتب العلمية باللغة العربية، اقصد بالعلمية ما يندرج منها تحت الاختصاص الطبي، كنت قد واجهت الامرين مع قراءة علم النفس التطوري، وقررت أن ابحث عن تسخة انكليزية لافهم ما مكتوب فيه :D
لكن هذا كتاب جميل، يستحق القراءة وبالتأكيد سيكون اكثر متعة حين الحصول على نسخته بلغة العلم الانكليزية :)
Abailart
Aug 30, 2011 Abailart rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, science
Sometimes I have to stop after even a paragraph. It's a strong feeling of becoming enraptured by the information, connections and insights afforded by this extremely lucid and stimulating layperson's introduction to the human genome. An extremely compressed three page preface provides a glossary and explanation of key terms, and can be returned to as needed. Each chapter then takes one chromosome and selects from each a particular gene to describe with a much broader emphasis upon what this actu ...more
Lotz
Jun 15, 2016 Lotz rated it liked it
It is interesting to me how, despite our best efforts, our preconceptions can totally shape our experiences. I was impressed when two biology majors in my school independently recommended this to book to me. Must be good, I thought. So, in the interest of honesty, I must disclose that my inflated expectations were probably the biggest contributor to my lackluster reaction. I had high hopes, and Ridley only partially delivered.

In popular science, an easy way to divide books is by the occupation o
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Nicole
Apr 20, 2010 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting and understandable survey of human genetic heritage. There were a few boring pieces that recounted things I'd been taught repeatedly in biology classes - I can see the utility of this as not all readers would have taken those classes, I just didn't enjoy reading about those things again as much as I enjoyed the more specific examples. The last few chapters contained some biased language (calling people who tore up GM crops "eco-terrorists" rather than simply "vandals," fo ...more
Ghada Zain
Jan 22, 2015 Ghada Zain rated it really liked it
كتاب جميل وبسيط جدا يتناول ال DNA بكل سهولة ويسر ويذكر تاريخة وبعض الامثلة على الامراض الجينية ، ممتع جداً وجديد احببت تشبيهاته وطريقة صياغته وان كنت اظنه ناقصاً فهو لم بتناول طريقة الترجمة او التضاعف ولكنه جميل .
Max
Mar 03, 2016 Max rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Ridley takes on a number of controversial topics. These include the genome’s influence on intelligence, sexual orientation, personality and free will; genetically modified foods, eugenics and testing for incurable diseases. He explains how genes function, their structure, and how they shape our bodies and minds. The book was written in 1999 so some of it may be dated. Below are my notes.

Genes are turned on and off throughout our life often dependent on environmental factors. Some genes code for
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Olive (abookolive)
Nov 29, 2015 Olive (abookolive) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, science
Review is on my booktube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feGUi...
Marwa Assem Salama
محكومٌ علينا بالجينات! ...فما نحن سوى شرائح رقمية!...أو إن شئت قل شفرات: فإما شقيٌ وإما سعيد ..فثمة خيطٌ لولبيّ فريدٌ من ال (دي إن إيه) يحرك الجميع كدُمى من خشب...ومنذ أجيالٍ انتخب العالم كل ما فينا بالقسوة ..فكان "البقاء للأقوى" وللأظلم وللأطغى ..وفي حربٍ ضروسٍ كهذه، لا نسل يبقى للمقتول ..وعليه فإن الحاضرين جميعهم هم أحفاد من قتل ..تلك فكرةٌ مريرة نعم! ...ولكن على اﻷقل بقي لي منها خبر سار ... فلقد صار عندي اﻵن جينٌ لكل ذنب ..للقهر و الضعف ..للمثلية والجنون ..وللعنف والحب ..هب الجميع بقبحهم وآثا ...more
Koen Crolla
Feb 23, 2015 Koen Crolla rated it it was ok
Shelves: biology
I gave Ridley's The Red Queen five stars when I read it half a decade ago, and The Rational Optimist one (and a longish review) when I read it in 2011. Genome, his most famous book, isn't quite as awful as the latter, but Ridley's godawful politics shine through often enough to irritate.

His insistence on lauding free entreprise (even where it only exists in his imagination) and condescendingly cautioning against ``big government'' at every turn isn't even the most obnoxious part this time; if an
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Arminius
Mar 08, 2016 Arminius rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, nook-book
A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain an organism. In 1953 Francis Crick and James Watson decoded the structure of DNA and with this discovery Crick exclaimed “We’ve discovered the secret of life.” What they discovered was that the main purpose of genes is to store the recipe for making proteins. The proteins are what determine the color of our hair, fight infection, and carry oxygen as ...more
Lammoth
Nov 10, 2012 Lammoth rated it really liked it
Човешкото тяло е съставено от около 100 трилиона клетки, във вътрешността на всяко от които има ядро. Във всяко ядро има два пълни комплекта от човешкия ГЕНОМ (изключение правят само яйцеклетките и сперматозоидите, които имат по един комплект, и червените кръвни клетки, които нямат нито един). Единият комплект е дошъл от майката, а другият от бащата. Но какво е геном?

Представете си, че геномът е книга.
Тази книга съдържа 23 глави, наречени хромозоми.
Всяка глава (хромозома) съдържа хиляди ис
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Mark Fallon
Jul 02, 2009 Mark Fallon rated it it was amazing
Are your body and brain pre-wired for certain tendencies? That’s one of the questions raised in Matt Ridley’s Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. Using a gene from each of the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up our DNA as a launching point, Ridley discusses what we’ve learned about the history of the human race. Some concepts about heredity are confirmed, while others are discarded.

Through the Human Genome Project, scientists have mapped out the complete set of human genes.
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Voodoochilli
Jan 31, 2013 Voodoochilli rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
I really enjoyed this book. I would say it is so far the best book I have read this year and a great introduction to genetics. Quite a lot of the stuff in this book has been covered in other books I have read, most notably by Richard Dawkins, however the writing was fresh and I learned a hell of a lot of stuff throughout this book. For example, did you know that the placenta is actually a parasite, the result of male antagonistic genes battling the female's X chromosomes by redirecting more reso ...more
Andy
Oct 04, 2012 Andy rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, science
An interesting idea for a popular book about genetics - 23 chapters, one for each pair of chromosomes - that is realized into a not particularly good book. I appreciate that it's trying to be generalist, but it's generalist to the point of failing to convey ideas. Ridley moves from topic to topic like a student who has been told that he must include a long list of them in his paper. And I'm afraid the writing is just not good enough for any of the briefly discussed ideas to stick in your brain, ...more
Michael
უამრავი საინტერესო ინფორმაციით სავსე, წიგნი რომელიც არაერთხელ უნდა წაიკითხო, ჩვენს გენებში ჩაწერილი ჰომო საპიენსის (და არამარტო) ბიოგრაფია.
გენომი გასაოცარი დოკუმენტია, აქ არის ჩვენი ბიოგრაფია, დოსიე, "ავადმყოფობის ისტორია" ჩვენი ევოლუციური წარსული და მომავალი, ჩვენი წარმოქმნის რეცეპტი.
ჩვენ ათასობით გენი გაგვაჩნია, მათზე კი ჯამში იმდენი ინფორმაცია მოიპოვება რომ მთელი ბიბლითეკა ჭირდება. მეთ რიდლიმ ამ წიგნში ოცდასამ თავში, რომელიც ოცდასამ წყვილ ქრომოსომას განასახიერებს და წარმოადგენს, თითო ქრომოსომ
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Meetu
Oct 04, 2015 Meetu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Genome is yet another non-fiction science book that I have read with the utmost fascination. Not that there are that many in the list, but this is a genre that I am absolutely delighting in. It would have been great to have this enthusiasm to know, in school perhaps, when I was rote-learning about DNA and had no idea what the implications of genes were. This book ought to have livened things up in my mind.

The best thing about the book is the lucid structure. It is brilliantly organised, to
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Charlotte Osborn-bensaada
Rideley's trope is to connect circa 2000 what we are beginning to know about the human geonomes if you will through each of the 23 human chromosomes. Some it works very well, I think I have a much better understanding of the implications of all types issues related to genetics. I also realized afterward that we as a society don't even have the beginnings of a social discussion taking place even as the science races forward. The challenge with a book like Ridley's is that it based on what we knew ...more
Iain
Jan 09, 2009 Iain rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in genetics, with no real background in biological sciences
Shelves: would-recommend
A spur of the moment buy at the airport when going on holiday, I couldnt put the book down once I'd started. This is more than a book about the human genome, its also an analysis of the social, political and scientific implications of understanding the human genetic map.

Each area he analyses from health and healing to death and immortalit, from instinct and intelligence to personality and behavior is illustrated with examples of experiments used to prove the point and is analysed with a laymans
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Tyler
Aug 15, 2015 Tyler rated it really liked it
Awesome content, but knocking it down a star because of the writing style. At some points the author made very detailed statements that assumed prior context that this reader, at least, did not have. Also, he had a tendency to anthropomorphize our genes, talking about their "wants" and "desires" which I found counter-productive to understanding how they operate.
Elaine
I love this stuff! Science written for non-specialists that isn't dumbed down at all. I've studied the evolution of humans, especially of language, and am now writing a book on the evolution of dogs. I've also read Bryan Sykes and other books pertaining to genomes, but still found myself thoroughly engaged in Matt Ridley's treatment of the topic. I learned a great deal from this book despite my other readings on the topic. Ridley cleverly writes each chapter about one set of chromosomes and how ...more
Barnaby Thieme
Aug 20, 2015 Barnaby Thieme rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Ridley has written an engaging and fascinating account of the human genome with the frame of writing one chapter focusing on a particular gene on each of the 23 chromosomes, and in this grand tour gives us a picture of the history and major issues of modern genetics research. He wisely does not confine himself too narrowly to this premise, which could quickly turn into a gimmicky straight jacket for his narrative. Instead, it becomes a basis for considering a range of phenomena of human importan ...more
أسيل
Dec 10, 2013 أسيل rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
النسخة الالكترونية منه ناقصة فقط تناولت اربعة فصول من اصل 23 فصلاً
يجزء الكاتب كتابه الى عدد الكروموسومات الثلاث والعشرين
ويرتبط كل مروموسوم بمعنى فالاول كان الحياة والثاني النوع والثالث التاريخ والرابع المصير...
ويعرض الاكتشافات والامراض وطبيعة الجينات المرتبطه وعلاقتها بالامراض...

اتمنى ان يتوفر كاملاً
Kheyreddine Hadri
Oh Myy!!
Despite this book being published in 1999, and science has changed a lot ever since, it remains a must-read. Matt Ridley is the Shakespeare of science. Not he only writes in precision and accuracy, but also with eloquence. The simplification of such entangled subject (genes) is ingenious. Hats off!

The Human Genome:

• Imagine that the genome is a book.
• There are twenty-three chapters, called CHROMOSOMES, ech chapter contains several thousand • stories, called GENES.
• Each story is made up
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Matt
Aug 04, 2015 Matt rated it it was amazing
In early July I began my second teaching placement where I would be teaching biology. During this placement I would be required to teach genetics to year 10 and year 12 students. As it had been over a year since I had been studying genetics in any depth I decided I should re-investigate the subject. At first I felt flipping through my old notes and textbooks would be an easy way to re-familiarize myself with the topic, but I soon began to find this arduous and quite uninspiring. In order to re-i ...more
Mawa Mahima
Taken from allthingswordy, my book blog
Genome: The History of Us, the Species

Genome is a siren, calling out to the book lovers and the science geeks to unite over our own common history: Genome, thebook.

Ridley creates an analogy of the human genome, which maps out all the genes we have in our body, by comparing the genome to a book.
Imagine that the genome is a book.

There are twenty-three chapters, called CHROMOSOMES.
Each chapter containsseveral thousand stories, called GENES.
Each story is made u
...more
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Matthew White Ridley, 5th Viscount Ridley DL FRSL FMedSci (born 7 February 1958, in Northumberland) is an English science writer, businessman and aristocrat. Ridley was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford where he received a doctorate in zoology before commencing a career in journalism. Ridley worked as the science editor of The Economist from 1984 to 1987 and was then its Washington cor ...more
More about Matt Ridley...

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“A true scientist is bored by knowledge; it is the assault on ignorance that motivates him - the mysteries that previous discoveries have revealed.” 45 likes
“The fuel on which science runs is ignorance. Science is like a hungry furnace that must be fed logs from the forests of ignorance that surround us. In the process, the clearing we call knowledge expands, but the more it expands, the longer its perimeter and the more ignorance comes into view.” 17 likes
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