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The Genetic Code

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  22 reviews
An explanation of how DNA and RNA were discovered. It is written in layman's terms, and explained in an interesting way. ...more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published January 2nd 1963 by Signet (first published 1962)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Fantástico libro, absolutamente emocionante en su desarrollo y con el rigor de un libro de texto. Asimov, cuando era Asimov, era insuperable. Con este libro descubrí (me salté la biología de 3º por estar fuera un año y al volver no elegí biología de optativa) cómo se replicaba el ADN, algo que me pareció maravillosamente ingenioso. También habla de ARN, de la síntesis de proteínas y de muchas cosas relacionadas, tanto con la historia como con la química. Es un viaje fantástico por la ciencia, ab ...more
Diego Sánchez Pérez
Estoy ante un libro de ciencias muy interesante para aprender sobre el ADN como también de otras moléculas celulares desde un punto de vista de un escritor de ciencia ficción, me parecio particular porque creo yo que para escribir novelas de ese género es genuino tener mucho conocimiento sobre la materia científica para escribir un libro como este para así más adelante escribir ficción a la vez que tenga un mínimo de respeto hacia la ciencia real. A pesar de no entender mucho de ciencias es un l ...more
"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then -- to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. T ...more
Carter Lehman
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Asimov's The Genetic Code is a short introduction to genetics (and science more generally as Asimov seamlessly stitches genetics to other various scientific disciplines).

I read this book with a friend, in a few hours, without much interlude. I think that it has the appeal of a cheap novel being sold at an airport, yet it has the potency of a textbook.

My reading attention was mostly given to articles and book segments that were of interest to me this year. So, it felt good being able to read and
Luke Smith
Isaac Asimov basically writes genetics for dummies. This dummy really struggles to get it.
ilya murychev
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book which shows way of understanding of inner structure of the cell. Scientific methods of research of DNA, RNA etc. Protein production.
Natalie Waddell-Rutter
Apr 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I found this book surprisingly interesting. Asimov explained how scientists worked out the details of DNA and RNA. I didn't learn anything new about genetics, but I did get to learn how the science was done. I found it all quite fascinating. I was impressed with the number of Nobel Prizes won by people doing research in the field of early genetics. I didn't expect as much organic chemistry as Asimov provided. There were pages of chemical diagrams and names for all the bits added to proteins. I d ...more
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again Asimov is at his best, this time explaining DNA and the underlying genetic code in an easy to understand manner. He starts with the fundamentals of the language of chemistry, the symbols for the elements, diagrams of molecules and the basics of organic chemistry. Using this as the foundation, he then describes the structure of amino acids and how they combine to make proteins.
The next question is of course how cells “remember” the sequence of the amino acids in the proteins used to
Senthil Kumaran
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the serious science books written by Asimov. Asimov takes you through the process of human genetics in a simple way, describing things like describing a character set. He gives a parallel of how 26 english alphabets can form infinite words and infinite sentences can be written, and so it applies that 4 gene characters like (ATGC) - Adeline, Thiamin, Guanine and Cytosine combine into words and form sentences that give multiple different characteristics in life forms. Asimov takes t ...more
Jeroen Delcour
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the clearest introduction to genetics I've ever read. It requires no background knowledge of biology or chemistry, yet by the end of only a few hundred pages you'll know the structure of DNA (and more importantly why is has such a structure), amino acids and how they form proteins, and how the two are related. There's lots of drawings of the important chemical structures and how fit together. Plus, a short history of how it was all discovered.

It obviously doesn't include discoveries mad
Oct 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who already has a strong biology background & is interested in the history of science
Shelves: asimov, 2008, biology
In The Genetic Code, Dr. Asimov carefully and lucidly provides the scientific background necessary to appreciate the elegant mechanism by which a sequence of DNA nucleotides is translated into a series of amino acids in a protein molecule—work that, at the time of publishing in 1963, was still very far from complete. Because much of the molecular biology in this book is dated or obsolete, I do not recommend this book to anyone who lacks a thorough knowledge of the "central dogma" of molecular bi ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggi
Asimov non è stato solo un grande romanziere ma anche, era laureato in chimica e biologia, un notevole divulgatore scientifico. Il codice genetico è un brillante esempio di quell'attività divulgativa che diverrà preponderante negli anni sessanta. Libro tecnico ma chiaro e godibile, ripercorre la tappe che portarono alla scoperta del DNA e ci introduce ai meccanismi di replicazione del codice e produzione delle proteine. Unica avvertenza, "Il codice genetico" è del '62 e in oltre quarant'anni mol ...more
A look at the discovery of the Genetic Code and its importance as the basis of human heredity.

Between this book and several of Asimov's other books about Chemistry, the Good Doctor enabled me to pass eight credits' worth of college Chemistry without taking more than a single High School Chemistry course.
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
An explanation of how DNA and RNA were discovered. It is written in layman's terms, and explained in an interesting way. The information is dated, but it provides good insight into how the scientific research was done up to that point. ...more
Jishnu Bhattacharya
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in science
Shelves: popular-science
The best part of this book is that it walks through the science, the failures especially and how they shaped the present understanding. Brilliant read.
Steve Carroll
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Concise explanation of how DNA / RNA work combined with the tale of the progression of discoveries that lead to our current understanding.
Joe B
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Asimov is certainly one of science's best expositors. This book is a bit old now, but the writing is still rings clear as a bell. So many permutations!! ...more
Ayla Ayala
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounds up to 4 stars. An interesting historical document if nothing else (and there is a great deal of else).
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Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine o

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