Wayne McCoy's Reviews > The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code

The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean
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's review
Aug 07, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from July 21 to August 06, 2012

A highly interesting and very accessible look at the world of DNA and genes, this book begins with how early science discovered what we know about it today. Controversies such as cloning and dna splicing are discussed along the way.

The title refers to Niccolo Paganini, a virtuoso violinist who could splay his fingers in unnatural directions. This was the result of a genetic disorder, and not a pact with the devil (as was believed during his life). This is just one of the many people you will meet along the way. There is the man who survived dual nuclear bombs in Japan, and what happens to ravaged DNA is discussed. There are scientists who study fruit flies and want to breed "monkey men" a clone sheep. There is the race to decode the human genome. And all throughout is the wonder of our DNA.

Highly recommended for casual science readers, and anyone who wants a good overview of the science behind genetics. Included is a fine selected bibliography for those who want to explore further.

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