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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim Hughes | 1 comments Hello.

I'm a fairly well educated person, but find myself more ignorant than I would like about genetics. Can anyone recommend a good "popular science" book on the topic?

Thanks for any help.


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 629 comments Just genetics or more general about how it is expressed? Venomous: How Earth's Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry is really interesting & gets into it somewhat. Unseen Diversity: The World of Bacteria does, too.

If neither of these fit the bill, maybe they'll help narrow down the field.

message 3: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 1669 comments Mod
There are 20 books on our group bookshelves that are at least partly about genetics:

As to whether it constitutes readable "popular science", I suggest you check the reviews on each book. Often a review will discuss how accessible the book is and whether it's general or specific.

message 4: by Elentarri (last edited May 19, 2017 05:45AM) (new)

Elentarri Try Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters for an introduction, then go on to read Carey Nessa's two books for more specific details:
The Epigenetics Revolution
Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome

If you are looking for information on genetics and domestication of various animals, this book is great: Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World

Venomous: How Earth's Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry is a great biochemistry book, not really genetics, but you should still read it.

The Gene: An Intimate History, The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution and The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature are also supposed to be good but I haven't read them so can't say.

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of de-Extinction gives you information on the cloning and gene manipulation methods, but not really a specific book on genes/genetics.

Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts on biotechnology.

Hope that helps?

message 7: by Charlene (new)

Charlene | 26 comments First and foremost, I *highly* recommend

Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom

Sean Carroll (biologist, not physicist) explains genes in an intuitive way that will wow you and provide a fairly comprehensive discussion on what genes are and how they work, including how they affect the development of evolving forms. His main goal (like Neil Shubin's Inner Fish) is to get the reader to understand that gene mutations on a large scale (meaning, mutations in gene switches) have given rise to incredible complexity. This is everything you need to know about how genes evolve. Captivating and majestic. This book does not include discussions on epigenetics and therefore, in addition, see the next book on this list by Sharon Moalem.

For a light and fun, but extremely educational, look at genes (including epigenetics) I highly recommend Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease

I would also echo praise for some of the books mentioned already:
- Nessa Carey's Epigenetic Revolution (not as fun of a read as Survival of the Sickest, but still good)
- Vital Question and Power, Sex, Suicide by Lane. I would add Lane's Life ascending
Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution

message 8: by Charlene (new)

Charlene | 26 comments Also, you might be tempted to read Sharon Moalem's more recent book Inheritance, thinking it will give you more up-to-date info. It won't. His book Survival of the Sickest is far, far better, despite being a little bit older.

message 9: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 5 comments Junk DNA by Ness Carey

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