Books by Subject


Notable quote: James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, when asked how we as a society are going to react to issues raised by genetics -- stem cells, bioengineering, and the like: "Just let all genetic decisions be made by women." Discover Magazine, July 2003, p. 19

Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species
by Lynn Margulis, Ourion Sagan, Ernst May


Hardcover: 256 pages

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
From one of the great iconoclasts of modern biology, an original, accessible work that sets out, for lay and scientific readers alike, a new theory of how species begin.

In this groundbreaking book, Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan present an answer to one of the enduring mysteries of evolution--the source of inherited variation that gives rise to new species. Random genetic mutation, long believed to be the main source of variation, is only a marginal factor. As the authors demonstrate in this book, the more important source of speciation, by far, is the acquisition of new genomes by symbiotic merger.

The result of thirty years of delving into a vast, mostly arcane literature, this is the first book to go beyond--and reveal the severe limitations of--the "Modern Synthesis" that has dominated evolutionary biology for almost three generations. Lynn Margulis, whom E. O. Wilson called "one of the most successful synthetic thinkers in modern biology," and her co-author Dorion Sagan have written a comprehensive and scientifically supported presentation of a theory that directly challenges the assumptions we hold about the variety of the living world.

About the Author
Lynn Margulis, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the 1999 Presidential Medal of Science. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Dorion Sagan is the author of Biospheres and, with Dr. Eric Schneider, Into the Cool: The New Thermodynamics of Life. He lives in New York City.

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The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry
by Bryan Sykes
Hardcover - 320 pages (July 9, 2001)
W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393020185
Book Description
A momentous scientific discovery that reveals how we are descended from seven prehistoric women. As provocative as Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man and as controversial as E. O. Wilson's Sociobiology, The Seven Daughters of Eve offers a fascinating history of the world as revealed through genetics. After years of research that resulted in headlines across the world, Bryan Sykes, an Oxford University geneticist, now lays the foundation for an entirely new branch of the study of DNA. After being summoned in 1997 to an archaeological site in Italy to examine the remains of a five-thousand-year-old man, Sykes ultimately was able to prove not only that the man was a European but also that he has relatives living in England today. Sykes found a particular strand of DNA that passes unbroken through the maternal line, allowing us to trace our genetic makeup back to prehistoric times to seven primeval women, or the "seven daughters of Eve." This book is popular science at its best, and its scientific and cultural reverberations will be discussed for years to come. 6 b/w line drawings.

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The Way of the Cell : Molecules, Organisms and the Order of Life
by Frank M. Harold 
Hardcover - 304 pages (May 2001)
Oxford Univ Pr (Trade); ISBN: 0195135121 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.10 x 9.56 x 6.39

Editorial Reviews
"What is life?" asked physicist Edwin Schrödinger in an influential essay by that title published half a century ago. In this book, Franklin Harold ventures no definitive answers about what he calls "the supreme marvel of the universe." Instead, with wit and learning, he surveys the advances in scientific understanding about the nature of life since Schrödinger's time.

Harold focuses closely on microorganisms, which, he observes, do not often figure in popular books of biology, perhaps because most general readers associate them only with disease and not with their many beneficial contributions to the world's workings. In fact, he suggests, the answer to Schrödinger's question is likely to be found at the microscopic level. Current evolutionary models derived from the study of ribosomal RNA from hundreds of species of plants and animals now point to the development of life from some cenancestor in a setting billions of years old, one in which "microorganisms rather than dinosaurs fill the horizon." The identity of that ancestor is not yet known, he writes; it may have resembled a bacterium, or it may have been a loosely organized assemblage of protocells "engaged in the promiscuous exchange of genetic information."

No matter what it looked like, Harold notes in this instructive survey of modern biological theory, life probably originated in an apparently inhospitable environment, as studies of deep-ocean thermal vents and the lithosphere now point to, rather than in the oceanic "chemical stew" of old. It's a fascinating story, and Harold tells it ably. --Gregory McNamee

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Revolutionary Biology : The New, Gene-Centered View of Life
by David P. Barash

Hardcover - 213 pages (February 2001)
Transaction Pub; ISBN: 0765800675 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.83 x 9.34 x 6.28

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The Impact of the Gene : From Mendel's Peas to Designer Babies
by Colin Tudge

Hardcover - 256 pages (July 2001)
Hill & Wang Pub; ISBN: 0374175233 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.29 x 8.56 x 5.76

Book Description
In the mid-nineteenth century, a Moravian friar made a discovery that was to shape not only the future of science but also that of the human race. With his deceptively simple experiments on peas in a monastery garden in Brno, Gregor Mendel was the first to establish the basic laws of heredity, laws from which the principles of modern genetics can be drawn. In this fascinating account, acclaimed science writer Colin Tudge traces the influence on science of Mendel's extraordinary ideas, from the 1850s to the present day, and goes on to ask what might happen in this century and beyond.

The science of genetics holds the key to an enhanced understanding of the human makeup and allows for new ways of approaching such issues as the prevention of hereditary diseases and the effective conservation of endangered species. But genetic technologies are also instruments of tremendous power, and with this constantly expanding knowledge comes the responsibility of using it wisely. Cloning, genetically engineered crops, the research and results of the Human Genome Project, and the possibility of "designer babies" continue to force challenging choices on society. In The Impact of the Gene Colin Tudge provides new and vital insights into the ethics of modern genetics and raises the question of what criteria we must use with regard to this extraordinary and unprecedented power.

A comprehensive and entertaining work that combines scientific history with a compelling discussion of the future trends of genetic technologies, The Impact of the Gene examines how the ideas that underpin the spectrum of all genetic issues are interrelated, and proposes that with a basic understanding of Gregor Mendel's theories and discoveries, all modern genetics falls easily into place. From a monastery garden in Brno to the laboratories of the twenty-first century and beyond, The Impact of the Gene provides a vital overview of the science of genetics.

About the Author
Colin Tudge is the author of, most recently, The Variety of Life: A Survey and a Celebration of All the Creatures That Have Ever Lived and The Second Creation: Dolly and the Age of Biological Control, with Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell. One of Britain's leading science writers, he is currently a Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Philosophy at the London School of Economics. He lives in London.

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The Spark of Life : Darwin and the Primeval Soup
by Christopher Wills, Jeffrey Bada
Paperback - 320 pages 0 edition (March 6, 2001)
Perseus Books; ISBN: 0738204935 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.68 x 9.23 x 6.02

Other Editions: Hardcover

Editorial Reviews
Can you create life with just a taser and a bowl of soup? Most likely not, unless you give yourself a few hundred million years to experiment. Biologist Christopher Wills and marine chemist Jeffrey Bada show off the fruits of research looking for signs of life elsewhere and clues to the origin of terrestrial organisms in The Spark of Life. The writing is clear and every concept is explained well--Wills's reputation for translating scientific understanding into plain English is well-deserved, and Bada's insider status with NASA provides insight not found elsewhere. They examine the field of theories, from extraterrestrial origin to life spilling out of hydrothermal vents to deep-crust genesis, and find strengths and weaknesses in them all. Their own partisan stance has it that life began on the surface of our planet through Darwinian-like processes operating on primitive self-replicating chemicals. Though their arguments are fairly compelling, the jury is still out, and will probably remain out indefinitely; science often balks at providing explanations for unique events, preferring to stick to general principles. Still, we can see that the problem is valuable because the search for an answer turns up all sorts of unexpected scientific finds: RNA-catalyzed reactions, Martian environmental problems, and natural selection of nonliving chemicals all showed up amid these debates. While it won't settle the issues, we can be glad that The Spark of Life explains them so clearly and primes us for the research still to come. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the
hardcover edition of this title

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Cracking the Genome : Inside the Race to Unlock Human DNA
by Kevin Davies
Hardcover - 288 pages (January 2001)
Free Press; ISBN: 0743204794 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.16 x 9.50 x 6.31

Editorial Reviews
What makes science happen? The confluence of politics, commerce, and the age-old quest for knowledge is nowhere better seen than in the ongoing Human Genome Project. Kevin Davies, founding editor of Nature Genetics, picks apart the personalities and technologies involved in the great sequence race in Cracking the Genome: Inside the Race to Unlock Human DNA. Written not long after President Clinton's premature announcement in 2000 of the Project's completion, it assesses the state of public and private genomic knowledge during what Davies calls "halftime." He is in a unique observational position; as a prominent scientific journalist, he has had unparalleled access to the scientific figures involved. Through interviews with HGP director Francis Collins, rogue scientist-entrepreneur J. Craig Venter, and many other scientists and insiders, Davies illuminates the often-tortured processes that contributed to the speedy sequencing of most--but not quite all--of our genes in just a few short years. Shifting styles characterize the different storylines: technological, political, and intensely personal tales unite under the author's direction without ever alienating the reader. The book is a bit softer on Venter than many scientists (who may perceive him as traitorous or, worse, too hasty to publish) would like, taking the position that his shotgun approach and competitive spirit improved the project without sacrificing quality. Conversely, Davies sits out the gene-patenting controversy, offering all sides a fairly equal voice, but never quite finding sympathy with any of them. Summing up his subject, Davies reports:


If the double helix is the prevailing image of the twentieth century, just as the steam engine signified the nineteenth century, then the sequence--the vast expanse of 3 billion As, Cs, Gs, and Ts--is destined to define the century to come.... The childhood of the human race is about to come to an end.

These are strong words, but few other fields provide a stronger basis for such hope. Cracking the Genome gives us the chance to catch up with the present while the future races on. --Rob Lightner
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The Cooperative Gene : How Mendel's Demon Explains the Evolution of Complex Beings
by Mark Ridley 

Hardcover - 324 pages (June 2001)
Free Press; ISBN: 0743201612 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.01 x 9.64 x 6.45
Book Description
Why isn't all life pond-scum? Why are there multimillion-celled, long-lived monsters like us, built from tens of thousands of cooperating genes? Mark Ridley presents a new explanation of how complex large life forms like ourselves came to exist, showing that the answer to the greatest mystery of evolution for modern science is not the selfish gene; it is the cooperative gene.

In this thought-provoking book, Ridley breaks down how two major biological hurdles had to be overcome in order to allow living complexity to evolve: the proliferation of genes and gene-selfishness. Because complex life has more genes than simple life, the increase in gene numbers poses a particular problem for complex beings. The more genes, the more chance for copying error; it is far easier to make a mistake copying the Bible than it is copying an advertising slogan. To add to the difficulty, Darwin's concept of natural selection encourages genes that look out for themselves, selfish genes that could easily evolve to sabotage the development of complex life forms. By retracing the history of life on our planet -- from the initial wobbly, replicating molecules, through microbes, worms, and flies, and on to humans -- Ridley reveals how life evolved as a series of steps to manage error and to coerce genes to cooperate within each body. Like a benign and unseen hand -- what Ridley calls "Mendel's Demon" -- the combination of these strategies enacts Austrian monk Gregor Mendel's fundamental laws of inheritance. This demon offers startling new perspectives on issues from curing AIDS, the origins of sex and gender, and cloning, to the genetics of angels. Indeed, if we are ever to understand the biology of other planets, we will need more than Darwin; we will need to understand how Mendel's Demon made the cooperative gene into the fundamental element of life.

What does the cooperative gene tell us about our future? With genetic technology burgeoning around the world, we must ask whether life will evolve to be even more complex than we already are. Human beings, Ridley concludes, may be near the limit of the possible, at least for earthly genetic mechanisms. But in the future, new genetic and reproductive biosystems could allow our descendants to increase their gene numbers and therefore their complexity. This process, he speculates, could lead to the evolution of life forms far stranger and more interesting than anything humanly discovered or imagined so far.

Written with uncommon energy, force, and clarity, The Cooperative Gene is essential reading for anyone wishing to see behind the headlines of our genetic age. It is an eye-opening invitation to the biotech adventure humanity has already embarked upon.

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The Century of the Gene
by Evelyn Fox Keller
Hardcover - 192 pages (January 15, 2001)
Harvard Univ Pr; ISBN: 0674003721 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.72 x 8.51 x 5.81

Editorial Reviews
We've been under the spell of DNA for too long. Science historian and MacArthur Fellow Evelyn Fox Keller makes the case for radically new thinking about the nature of heredity in The Century of the Gene. This short, magisterial treatise examines 100 years of genetic thinking and finds outdated elements of Victorian beliefs still permeating our scientific writing. Despite compelling evidence that cytoplasmic and other nonchromosomal factors play important roles in development and even in the inheritance of traits, most discussion still relies on the master-slave (or manager-worker) relationship between the nucleus and the cell. Keller wants to move on; her proximate goal is to proceed from talking about genes to talking about genetic talk, the better to understand our biases. Her excitement at developments such as the Human Genome Project, despite her initial doubts, is only heightened by the prospect of vast stretches of uncharted intellectual territory. Ultimately, of course, her program matches that of the scientific enterprise--to more fully understand ourselves and our world. What comes after The Century of the Gene? It's an excellent question, and one that can only be answered once we leave behind the baggage of the past. --Rob Lightner
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Genome: The Autobiography of a species in 23 chapters
by Matt Ridley

Paperback - 352 pages (October 3, 2000)
Harpercollins; ISBN: 0060932902
Other Editions: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews
Science writer Matt Ridley has found a way to tell someone else's story without being accused of plagiarism. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters delves deep within your body (and, to be fair, Ridley's too) looking for dirt dug up by the Human Genome Project. Each chapter pries one gene out of its chromosome and focuses on its role in our development and adult life, but also goes further, exploring the implications of genetic research and our quickly changing social attitudes toward this information. Genome shies away from the "tedious biochemical middle managers" that only a nerd could love and instead goes for the A-material: genes associated with cancer, intelligence, sex (of course), and more.

Readers unfamiliar with the jargon of genetic research needn't fear; Ridley provides a quick, clear guide to the few words and concepts he must use to translate hard science into English. His writing is informal, relaxed, and playful, guiding the reader so effortlessly through our 23 chromosomes that by the end we wish we had more. He believes that the Human Genome Project will be as world-changing as the splitting of the atom; if so, he is helping us prepare for exciting times--the hope of a cure for cancer contrasts starkly with the horrors of newly empowered eugenicists. Anyone interested in the future of the body should get a head start with the clever, engrossing Genome. --Rob Lightner
Hardcover - 352 pages (February 2000)
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Genes, Peoples and Languages
by Luigi Luca Cavalli- Sforza, Mark Seielstad (Translator)

Hardcover - 224 pages (March 2000)
North Point Press; ISBN: 0865475296 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.02 x 8.55 x 5.85 Sales Rank: 2,680

Editorial Reviews

Book Description
A fascinating investigation into the relationship between genes, language, race, and culture.
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza was among the first to ask whether the genes of modern populations contain a historical record of the human species. Cavalli-Sforza and others have answered this question-anticipated by Darwin-with a decisive yes. Genes, Peoples, and Languages is a summation of the author's work over several decades, the goal of which has been nothing less than tracking the past 100,000 years of human evolution. Cavalli-Sforza raises questions that have serious political, social, and scientific import: When and where did we evolve? How have human societies spread across the continents? How have cultural innovations affected the growth and spread of populations? What is the connection between genes and languages? Always provocative and often astonishing, Cavalli-Sforza explains why there is no genetic basis for racial classification and proposes that a comparison of blood types is a far better means of determining "genetic distance" and explaining linguistic and cultural differences. A panoramic tour of the major discoveries in genetic anthropology, Genes, Peoples, and Languages gives us a rare firsthand account of some of the most significant scientific work of recent years. Enthralling, profound, and lively, this is popular science writing at its best.
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Shaping Life : Genes, Embryos and Evolution
by John Maynard Smith

Hardcover - 65 pages (October 1999)
Yale Univ Pr; ISBN: 0300080220 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.42 x 7.33 x 4.81 Sales Rank: 32,002

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Nanomedicine, Volume 1: Basic Capabilities
by Robert A. Freitas Jr
Hardcover - 509 pages 1st edition Vol 1st (October 15, 1999)
Landes Bioscience; ISBN: 157059645X
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It Ain't Necessarily So : The Dream of the Human Genome Project and Other Illusions
By Richard C. Lewontin

Hardcover (February 2000)
New York Review of Books; ISBN: 0940322102
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Biology makes the headlines practically every few weeks as geneticists claim they have accounted for yet another human trait or ailment. However out of complex research have come exaggerations and misunderstandings about what biology, especially genetics can tell us. In this collection of essays from The New York Review of Books, Lewontin demystifies some of the most controversial issues in the life sciences today. On topics ranging from Darwin to Dolly the sheep, including genetic determinism, heredity and natural selection, evolutionary psychology and altruism, sex surveys, cloning and the Human Genome project, he offers both sharp criticisms of the "overweening pride" of scientists and lucid expositions of the exact state of scientific knowledge. In each case he casts an ever-vigilant and deflationary eye on the temptation to overstate the power of biology to explain everything we want to know about ourselves.

About the Author
Richard Lewontin is a leading geneticist and the author of Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA and The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change and co-author of The Dialectical Biologist (with Richard Levins) and Not in Our Genes (with Steven Rose and Leon Kamin). He is Professor of Population Sciences and the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Biology at Harvard University.
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The Triple Helix : Gene, Organism, and Environment
by Richard C. Lewontin

Hardcover - 192 pages (April 15, 2000)
Harvard Univ Pr; ISBN: 0674001591 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.64 x 7.83 x 5.25 Sales Rank: 1,820
Book Description
One of our most brilliant evolutionary biologists, Richard Lewontin has also been a leading critic of those-scientists and non-scientists alike-who would misuse the science to which he has contributed so much. In The Triple Helix, Lewontin the scientist and Lewontin the critic come together to provide a concise, accessible account of what his work has taught him about biology and about its relevance to human affairs. In the process, he exposes some of the common and troubling misconceptions that misdirect and stall our understanding of biology and evolution. The central message of this book is that we will never fully understand living things if we continue to think of genes, organisms, and environments as separate entities, each with its distinct role to play in the history and operation of organic processes. Here Lewontin shows that an organism is a unique consequence of both genes and environment, of both internal and external features. Rejecting the notion that genes determine the organism, which then adapts to the environment, he explains that organisms, influenced in their development by their circumstances, in turn create, modify, and choose the environment in which they live. The Triple Helix is vintage Lewontin: brilliant, eloquent, passionate, and deeply critical. But it is neither a manifesto for a radical new methodology nor a brief for a new theory. It is instead a primer on the complexity of biological processes, a reminder to all of us that living things are never as simple as they may seem.
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Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts
by Terry Burnham 
Hardcover - 224 pages (August 2000)
Perseus Book Group; ISBN: 0738202304 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.90 x 8.44 x 5.63
Editorial Reviews
"Don't trust your instincts." Hardly the standard self-help fare, to be sure. Arguing that Darwin has a lot more to tell us about ourselves than Freud, Mean Genes is high on evolution and low on inner child. Deemed "brilliant" by none other than E.O. Wilson himself, the book is the work of two young Wilson disciples: Terry Burnham, an economics professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and Jay Phelan, a professor of biology at UCLA.

Burnham and Phelan divide life issues into 10 categories (debt, fat, drugs, risk, greed, gender, beauty, infidelity, family, and friends and foes), and then offer up a two-step guide to better living: "Step 1 is to understand our animal nature, particularly those desires that get us into trouble and can lead to unhappiness. Step 2 is to harness this knowledge so that we can tame our primal instincts."

Needless to say, Nancy Reaganesque bromides don't fit into the Mean Genes scheme of things:

"Just say no" to drugs is the simplest way to kick a habit. Unfortunately, this obvious and low-cost approach is also the route most likely to fail. For example, only one person quits smoking for every twenty who attempt to just say no. Raw willpower seems like a great solution right up until weakness strikes and we light up a cigarette or mix a margarita.
Instead of slogans, the Mean Genes approach to overcoming drug addiction is to first recognize that "every person has strong, instinctual cravings for destructive substances." This, coupled with a thorough scientific understanding of a given drug's pleasurable effects on the brain, offers a more realistic course of action, such as finding a less harmful substitute for achieving a similar buzz.

Be it talk of weight loss, saving for retirement, or resisting the neighbor's wife, such practical, tough-love suggestions for subduing the beast within are provided throughout the book. Phelan describes how he instantly smears mayonnaise all over tempting sweets served with airline meals to keep from eating them during long flights, and Burnham writes of giving away his Internet access cable in order to free himself of a serious day-trading fixation.

The authors also rely heavily on findings from the animal world in stating their case, which makes for fascinating reading, if not always for the most readily transferable lessons to daily life. Consider, for example, certain frog species that "continue individual bouts of mating for several months. If people mated for a similar percentage of our lives, a single round of intercourse would last almost ten years." And then there's the famed black widow spider. "Shunning the more traditional chastity belt, the male breaks off his sexual organ inside the female, preventing her from ever mating again. When the act is completed, the female kills and eats the male."

Put off by all the sex and violence? Don't worry. There's also a nod to family values in the form of the Australian social spider. "Soon after giving birth to about a hundred hungry spiderlings, Mom's body literally liquefies into a pile of mushy flesh. The babies then munch on the flesh so they can start their lives with full bellies."

Mean genes indeed. --Patrick Jennings

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Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's Disease
by Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ann B. Parson
Hardcover - 320 pages (October 1, 2000)
Perseus Book Group; ISBN: 0738201952 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.98 x 9.49 x 6.40
Editorial Reviews
Alzheimer's disease, a fatal, annihilating brain disorder, affects millions of men and women around the world. In the United States alone, perhaps one in five persons aged 75 or older suffers from it, though hundreds of thousands of younger people also bear the condition.

Despite its ubiquity, the malady was, until recently, considered a "backwater disease" to which little research attention (and funding) was paid. Advances in gene research, some spearheaded by neurologist Rudolph Tanzi, have led to a new understanding of the causes of Alzheimer's disease, and new possibilities for its cure. In this well-written account of that research, Tanzi and journalist-co-author Ann Parson examine the role of amyloid neuritic plaque, "mucked-up, misfolded protein that fibrilizes and forms rock-hard aggregates that the body can't get rid of." This plaque occurs in humans and certain other carnivorous species (including bears and dogs), and it appears to play a role in neurologic disorders of several kinds. Tanzi reports on recent studies in the use of cholesterol-reducing drugs in lessening levels of "brain dirt," as well as on research that suggests that cardiovascular exercise and a diet low in animal fats can benefit the brain as well as the body. He even cautiously hints that the conquest of Alzheimer's may occur in the very near future. For the time being, his book provides a thoughtful portrait of the illness and of the scholars and scientists who have devoted their lives to combating it. --Gregory McNamee
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The Double Helix : A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
by James D. Watson, Gunter S. Stent

Paperback - 298 pages (February 1981)
W W Norton & Co; ISBN: 0393950751 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.69 x 8.24 x 5.13
Other Editions: Hardcover, Paperback, Audio Cassette (Abridged)
Editorial Reviews
"Science seldom proceeds in the straightforward logical manner imagined by outsiders," writes James Watson in The Double Helix, his account of his co-discovery (along with Francis Crick) of the structure of DNA. Watson and Crick won Nobel Prizes for their work, and their names are memorized by biology students around the world. But as in all of history, the real story behind the deceptively simple outcome was messy, intense, and sometimes truly hilarious. To preserve the "real" story for the world, James Watson attempted to record his first impressions as soon after the events of 1951-1953 as possible, with all their unpleasant realities and "spirit of adventure" intact.

Watson holds nothing back when revealing the petty sniping and backbiting among his colleagues, while acknowledging that he himself was a willing participant in the melodrama. In particular, Watson reveals his mixed feelings about his famous colleague in discovery, Francis Crick, who many thought of as an arrogant man who talked too much, and whose brilliance was appreciated by few. This is the joy of The Double Helix--instead of a chronicle of stainless-steel heroes toiling away in their sparkling labs, Watson's chronicle gives readers an idea of what living science is like, warts and all. The Double Helix is a startling window into the scientific method, full of insight and wit, and packed with the kind of science anecdotes that are told and retold in the halls of universities and laboratories everywhere. It's the stuff of legends. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to the mass market paperback edition of this title
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DNA and Destiny : Nature and Nurture in Human Behavior
by R. Gant Steen

Hardcover - 295 pages (May 1996)
Perseus Books; ISBN: 030645260X ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.09 x 8.55 x 5.68

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN. Presentation of the author's theories on the relationship between genetics and human behavior for the layperson. Discusses the Human Genome Project, nature and nurture, and the effects of recent advances in genetics on society.
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Narrow Roads of Gene Land : The Collected Papers of W. D. Hamilton : Evolution of Social Behaviour
by W.D. Hamilton

Paperback Vol 1 (March 1996)
Oxford Univ Press; ISBN: 0716745305
Availability: This title usually ships within 4-6 weeks. Please note that titles occasionally go out of print or publishers run out of stock. We will notify you within 2-3 weeks if we have trouble obtaining this title.
Other Editions: Hardcover, Paperback

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The Thread of Life : The Story of Genes and Genetic Engineering
by Susan Aldridge

Paperback - 272 pages (April 1998)
Cambridge Univ Pr (Trd); ISBN: 0521625092 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.79 x 8.52 x 5.48
Other Editions: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews
DNA "fingerprinting," genetic engineering of food, genetic screening, gene therapy, the human genome project--there is no shortage of news these days about the genetic revolution. This book takes interested readers behind the headlines to explore the fascinating world of molecular biology. Aldrige gives an accessible, jargon-free account of the world of DNA, exploring its present and future applications. 14 diagrams. --This text refers to the hardcover edition of this title
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Shaping Life : Genes, Embryos and Evolution
by John Maynard Smith

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Hardcover - 65 pages (October 1999)
Yale Univ Pr; ISBN: 0300080220 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.42 x 7.33 x 4.81

Editorial Reviews
"During the past ten years, there has been a revolution in our understanding of developmental biology, as scientists apply the ideas and techniques of genetics and embryology to the processes of development. In this book, John Maynard Smith gives an account of the progress that has been made in this field - in our knowledge of both the development of individuals and the evolution of the species."--BOOK JACKET.
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The Art of Genes : How Organisms Make Themselves
by Enrico Coen

Hardcover - 384 pages (August 1999)
Oxford Univ Pr (Trade); ISBN: 0198503431 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.16 x 9.51 x 6.46 Sales Rank: 30,571
Book Description
John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK. Presents a picture of current knowledge of how organisms develop and the implications of these findings on how we view ourselves. Author uses key metaphors to illustrate what is going on as an organism develops, while providing detailed explanations of the basic mechanisms involved. For students, educators, and researchers in biology and ge

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The Gene Wars : Science, Politics and the Human Genome
by Robert Cook-Deegan

Paperback Reprint edition (January 1996)
W. W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393313999 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.14 x 9.19 x 6.12
Other Editions: Hardcover Sales Rank: 90,381
A look at the controversial Human Genome Project recounts the struggle to launch the multi-billion-dollar, ten- to twenty-year project and relies on primary documents gathered as events unfolded to unravel the tangled scientific and political threads of the story. --This text refers to the
hardcover edition of this title
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Improving Nature? : The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering
by Michael J. Reiss, Roger Straughan

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Paperback - 304 pages Reprint edition (June 1999)
Cambridge Univ Pr (Trd); ISBN: 0521637546 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.70 x 9.06 x 6.05
Other Editions: Hardcover

Over the past decade, discussions about genetic engineering have spread from research laboratories to the national news. Supporters and opponents of genetic engineering agree that it has the potential to change our lives more than any other technological advance. Written in a clear, nontechnical style, this book delves thoroughly into the biological and ehtical considerations we must confront in the face of genetic engineering technology.
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The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection : A Complete Variorum Edition
by R.A. Fisher, J.H. Bennett (Editor)

Hardcover (May 2000)
Oxford Univ Press; ISBN: 0198504403 Sales Rank: 46,937
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The Lives to Come : The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities
by Philip Kitcher

Paperback - 400 pages Reprint edition (August 1997)
Touchstone Books; ISBN: 0684827050 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.01 x 8.51 x 5.49

Review by:
We stand at the edge, it seems, of a biotechnology revolution that may change society as fundamentally as has the information age. Philip Kitcher's The Lives to Come explains what biotechnology holds in store and grapples with the seemingly intractable moral and ethical questions that it raises: When should genetic screening be applied? When is abortion based on genetic information permissible? How should individuals' genetic makeup factor into their insurance eligibility? Kitcher is able to achieve a rare synthesis between lucid explanations of genetics as a science and expertly posed and argued questions that attempt to define its appropriate social context. He explains the numerous benefits that genetics proffers, but when it comes to addressing their impact he goes far beyond mere platitudes, thoughtfully weighing the alternatives and making concrete policy suggestions that address the fears--eugenics, economic stratification, privacy--that inevitably surround any discussion of the widespread applications of genetics.
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The Monk in the Garden : The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel
by Robin Marantz Henig

Hardcover - 224 pages (May 2000)
Houghton Mifflin Co (Trd); ISBN: 0395977657 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.11 x 8.58 x 5.83

Book Description
Most people know that Gregor Mendel, the Moravian monk who patiently grew his peas in a monastery garden, shaped our understanding of inheritance. But people might not know that Mendel's work was ignored in his own lifetime, even though it contained answers to the most pressing questions raised by Charles Darwin's revolutionary book, On Origin Of The Species, published only a few years earlier. Mendel's single chance of recognition failed utterly, and he died a lonely and disappointed man. Thirty-five years later, his work was rescued from obscurity in a single season, the spring of 1900, when three scientists from three different countries nearly simultaneously dusted off Mendel's groundbreaking paper and finally recognized its profound significance. The perplexing silence that greeted Mendel's discovery and his ultimate canonization as the father of genetics make up a tale of intrigue, jealousy, and a healthy dose of bad timing. Telling the story as it has never been told before, Robin Henig crafts a suspenseful, elegant, and richly detailed narrative that fully evokes Mendel's life and work and the fate of his ideas as they made their perilous way toward the light of day. The Monk In The Garden is a literary tour de force about a little-known chapter in the history of science, and it brings us back to the birth of genetics - a field that continues to challenge the way we think about life itself.
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On Giants' Shoulders : Great Scientists and Their Discoveries-From Archimedes to DNA
by Melvyn Bragg, Ruth Gardiner

Hardcover - 368 pages (August 13, 1999)
John Wiley & Sons; ISBN: 0471357324 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.31 x 8.09 x 5.59
Editorial Reviews
So many of us are blessed--or at least affected--by the fruits of science, yet how many of us really understand how we got them? Scientific creativity, like all other kinds, is a product of its times, but we can learn much from looking at the lives of its greatest practitioners; as a sizable side benefit, these lives are often tremendously entertaining. Author and BBC radio host Melvyn Bragg understands this well, and invited many of the great modern interpreters of science to discuss the lives and work of 12 greats, from Archimedes to Watson and Crick, and published the cream in On Giants' Shoulders. These are no dry transcripts, though; Bragg has a genius for selecting the most intriguing quotes and selections from both his guests and his subjects and weaving them into his own engrossing narrative. His many novels have tightened up his prose so well that he can make even a discussion of the genesis of relativity a page-turner. He couldn't have invented better material, either: Newton's notorious snobbery, Darwin's almost-naive sincerity, and Lavoisier's turbulent life and untimely death make for compelling stories indeed (one almost wonders how they had time to change the world). His guests, including luminaries such as Lewis Wolpert, Richard Dawkins, Oliver Sacks, and Roger Penrose, consistently cut to the heart of their subjects' importance and tie it all up neatly in the last chapter, "Where Are We Now?" An important question, of course, and one that can be better answered from On Giants' Shoulders. --Rob Lightner
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The Perfect Baby : A Pragmatic Approach to Genetics
by Glenn McGee
Paperback - 176 pages (June 1997)
Rowman & Littlefield; ISBN: 0847683443 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.63 x 8.97 x 5.83
Other Editions: Hardcover

Review by:
Glenn McGee is a philosopher at the Center for Bioethics in Philadelphia, but The Perfect Baby is no dry or abstract tome. "Philosophical systems must be tested where the rubber meets the road," says McGee, and he discusses ethical issues in human reproduction with a focus on real people and real choices. McGee's approach is based on the pragmatism of American philosophers William James and John Dewey, brought up to date by looking at "the ideas that are in play in our actual discussions of parenthood and babies, about ideas like identity, perfection, enhancement, and illness." McGee concludes that "we must resist the tendency to explain away the 'felt' aspects of the problem": feelings have ethical reality.
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Altered Fates : Gene Therapy and the Retooling of Human Life
by Jeff Lyon, Peter Gorner, (Contributor)

Paperback - 636 pages (October 1996)
W. W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393315282 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.21 x 9.20 x 6.12
Other Editions: Hardcover
Review by:
I worked as a programmer for the Human Genome Mapping Library Project with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute several years ago, and have been waiting for the book that could clearly explain to my friends and relatives what it was that I and the thousands of other folks sequencing human DNA were really up to.

Finally, Lyon and Gorner have written a book that deals with the most profound and compelling implications of this work: gene therapy, or the possibility of bypassing symptoms of diseases by dealing instead with their root genetic. Although this well-researched and comprehensive volume might be a bit much for the casual reader, it is a masterful and colorful work filled with facts, personalities, and politics that would appeal to anyone with a real interest in understanding the history -- and possible futures -- of gene therapy. --This text refers to the hardcover edition of this title
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Travels to the Nanoworld : Miniature Machinery in Nature and Technology
by Michael Gross

Hardcover - 250 pages (May 1999)
Perseus Pr; ISBN: 0306460084 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.90 x 9.22 x 6.27
Other Editions: Paperback

Editorial Reviews
Imagine a world of invisible servants, nimbly trimming unsightly hairs and whipping up a strawberry mousse while you relax on your 200th birthday. Biochemist Michael Gross takes you there with Travels to the Nanoworld, an explanation and exploration of machines so tiny and complex as to rival the powers of the mightiest magician. The lively, compelling prose introduces the subject bit by bit, sharing the secrets of physics, biochemistry, and engineering with concrete examples, then moves on to current and future research possibilities. You'll visit with scientists who are cooking eggs at room temperature, creating microscopic "buckytubes" of rolled graphite, and digging into our DNA to create the next generation of computers. Gross takes the time to explain his points carefully, but this never detracts from the narrative flow; furthermore, his attention to describing processes and personalities makes the players and even the technology come alive on the page. Whether writing about nanotech guru K. Eric Drexler's unabashed cheerleading or wise guy Richard Feynman's eerie prognostication, he makes the stories so engrossing that it's easy to forget that most of the advances in Travels to the Nanoworld are yet to come. It's a great place to visit, and if we're lucky, we'll get to live there. --Rob Lightner
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The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
by Michael Pollan

Hardcover - 256 pages (May 8, 2001)
Random House; ISBN: 0375501290 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.07 x 9.56 x 5.72
Book Description
In 1637, one Dutchman paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price of a town house in Amsterdam. Three and a half centuries later, Amsterdam is once again the mecca for people who care passionately about one particular plant — thought this time the obsessions revolves around the intoxicating effects of marijuana rather than the visual beauty of the tulip. How could flowers, of all things, become such objects of desire that they can drive men to financial ruin?

In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan argues that the answer lies at the heart of the intimately reciprocal relationship between people and plants. In telling the stories of four familiar plant species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how they evolved to satisfy humankinds’s most basic yearnings — and by doing so made themselves indispensable. For, just as we’ve benefited from these plants, the plants, in the grand co-evolutionary scheme that Pollan evokes so brilliantly, have done well by us. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom. So who is really domesticating whom?

Weaving fascinating anecdotes and accessible science into gorgeous prose, Pollan takes us on an absorbing journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature.

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Becoming Immortal : Nanotechnology, You, and the Demise of Death
by Wesley M. DuCharme

Hardcover (September 1995)
Blue Creek Ventures; ISBN: 0964628201

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