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Language of the Genes

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  279 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Steve Jones's highly acclaimed, double prize-winning, bestselling first book is now fully revised to cover all the new genetic breakthroughs from GM food to Dolly the sheep.'An essential sightseer's guide to our own genetic terrain.' Peter Tallack, Sunday Telegraph 'Superb and exhilarating trip around the double spiral of DNA, a rush of gravity-defying con ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1993)
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Sep 28, 2016 Owlseyes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, genetics
I bought this book back in 1994. It still remains a good introduction to the ever-changing (updating***), ever-challenging field which is Genetics.

I got used watching Steve on TV: his circumspect look, his travels the world around; his revolutionary questions and ideas, namely: females as superior to males,...genetically speaking (see his book Y: The Descent of Men).

Well, ...back to the Language ...of genes. It's a book full of facts:historical, linguistic,biological ones; ...and from there s
M.G. Mason
Aug 17, 2016 M.G. Mason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Biologist Doctor Steve Jones is slightly less famous than Richard Dawkins. I know this because he pointed that fact out at Uncaged Monkeys, the national tour of The Infinite Monkey Cage that he is “the biologist the media calls in when Dawkins is not available”. This event also featured Brian Cox and Ben Goldacre. Comparison’s with his more famous contemporary are always going to be on the cards, but Jones is an accomplished scientist in his own right.

Published in 1994, some of this book is now
Feb 18, 2016 Charlotte rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, 3-star, non-fiction
It should be stated that this is more of a 3.5 stars.

"The more we learn about inheritance, the more it seems there is to know."

This book was recommended to me by my Biology teacher as some extra reading to accompany my Biology A-Level course. Therefore this review is directed towards those who already have some prior knowledge of genetics. However I do know this book has been suggested for people who don't have at least this basic knowledge but I do feel like I would have found it confusing.

May 01, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Language of Genes by Dr. Steve Jones is not a textbook in genetics, but rather an expose on how the the study of genetics began and why (to prove bloodlines in royalty). He is thorough in covering the field of genetics, beginning his tour with Mendel's peas and taking us to the Human Genome Project (which was only in the inital stages at the writing of this book). Dr. Jones is a professor of genetics at University College in London and the editor of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolut ...more
Mickey Lee
Having been taught by the man himself, probably the most popular lecturer in the department, I can say Prof. Jones' reputation in science communication is well deserved. He excels at relating science to real life, and deftly provide insights into society and human nature while doing so. His books are easy, yet worthwhile reads but for that reason his books are not among my favourites.

People seem to have the idea that outdated books (which this is one of) are not worth reading, and I whole-heart
May 04, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology, evolution
Sometimes, historical science is fascinating. Though much of this still applies, much is now outdated, and his open skepticism about the human genome project fascinating, as is his claim that it cost $150 to sequence the cystic fibrosis gene and that he knew someone who said automation might increase speed 100 fold and reduce cost a hundred fold. Even if sequencing cost 1/100th of that, it would still be $1.5 for a single gene, compared to the actual cost of $5-10000 for an entire cell
Also, he w
Ruby Hollyberry
This is half a generation old now, and there are some incorrect statements as a result. The world of genetics, PARTICULARLY human genetics, has certainly changed a lot in 15 years! However it is a wonderful read, and has endless fascinating bits of trivia that inspire me to go research something further every time I reread it.

Also I love the author's voice, and thoroughly appreciate the rarity of pop science written by a talented writer. I love to read about science but I am very picky about re
Nick Davies
Jan 24, 2016 Nick Davies rated it liked it
Initially slightly dry (despite my interest in the subject) so that I read half of it, put it down for several months and subsequently re-started it. On the second attempt, it was a more interesting and more easy read - to some extent I felt that my prior knowledge of some of the quirkier facts (having studied human genetics before I read this book) lessened the impact, but there was some really curious stuff in there, and it was well-written for the curious non-expert.
May 10, 2010 Jrohde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an excellent view of how genes work and what can be attributed to genes - 15 yrs old but still valid and easy informative reading
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Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John Stephen Jones is a Welsh geneticist and from 1995 to 1999 and 2008 to June 2010 was Head of the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London. His studies are conducted in the Galton Laboratory. He is also a television presenter and a prize-winning author on the subject of
More about Steve Jones...

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“The meaning of sex is illustrated by two eponymous heroes of British history, King Edward VII (who flourished in the years before the First World War) and the King Edward variety of potato which has fed the British working class for almost as long). The potato, unlike the royal family, reproduces asexually. Every King Edward potato is identical to every other and each on has the same set of genes as the hoary ancestor of all potatoes bearing that name. This is convenient for the farmer and the grocer, which is why sex is not encouraged among potatoes.” 2 likes
“...although the reason for the existence of women is obvious enough, nobody has any real idea what point there is in being a man. Men have however, made many attempts to justify their existence.” 2 likes
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