• Science

Junk DNA

A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome
Author: Nessa Carey
Publisher: Icon Books
ISBN: 184831826X
Category: Science
Page: 288
View: 5724
From the author of the acclaimed The Epigenetics Revolution (‘A book that would have had Darwin swooning’ – Guardian) comes another thrilling exploration of the cutting edge of human science. For decades after the structure of DNA was identified, scientists focused purely on genes, the regions of the genome that contain codes for the production of proteins. Other regions – 98% of the human genome – were dismissed as ‘junk’. But in recent years researchers have discovered that variations in this ‘junk’ DNA underlie many previously intractable diseases, and they can now generate new approaches to tackling them. Nessa Carey explores, for the first time for a general audience, the incredible story behind a controversy that has generated unusually vituperative public exchanges between scientists. She shows how junk DNA plays an important role in areas as diverse as genetic diseases, viral infections, sex determination in mammals, human biological complexity, disease treatments, even evolution itself – and reveals how we are only now truly unlocking its secrets, more than half a century after Crick and Watson won their Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1962.

    • Science

Junk DNA

A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome
Author: Nessa Carey
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
ISBN: 1848318278
Category: Science
Page: 288
View: 2878
From the author of the acclaimed The Epigenetics Revolution (‘A book that would have had Darwin swooning’ – Guardian) comes another thrilling exploration of the cutting edge of human science. For decades after the structure of DNA was identified, scientists focused purely on genes, the regions of the genome that contain codes for the production of proteins. Other regions – 98% of the human genome – were dismissed as ‘junk’. But in recent years researchers have discovered that variations in this ‘junk’ DNA underlie many previously intractable diseases, and they can now generate new approaches to tackling them. Nessa Carey explores, for the first time for a general audience, the incredible story behind a controversy that has generated unusually vituperative public exchanges between scientists. She shows how junk DNA plays an important role in areas as diverse as genetic diseases, viral infections, sex determination in mammals, human biological complexity, disease treatments, even evolution itself – and reveals how we are only now truly unlocking its secrets, more than half a century after Crick and Watson won their Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1962.

    • Science

The Epigenetics Revolution

How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance
Author: Nessa Carey
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231530714
Category: Science
Page: 352
View: 647
Epigenetics can potentially revolutionize our understanding of the structure and behavior of biological life on Earth. It explains why mapping an organism's genetic code is not enough to determine how it develops or acts and shows how nurture combines with nature to engineer biological diversity. Surveying the twenty-year history of the field while also highlighting its latest findings and innovations, this volume provides a readily understandable introduction to the foundations of epigenetics. Nessa Carey, a leading epigenetics researcher, connects the field's arguments to such diverse phenomena as how ants and queen bees control their colonies; why tortoiseshell cats are always female; why some plants need cold weather before they can flower; and how our bodies age and develop disease. Reaching beyond biology, epigenetics now informs work on drug addiction, the long-term effects of famine, and the physical and psychological consequences of childhood trauma. Carey concludes with a discussion of the future directions for this research and its ability to improve human health and well-being.

    • Human genome

The Deeper Genome

Why There Is More to the Human Genome Than Meets the Eye
Author: John Parrington
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198813090
Category: Human genome
Page: 400
View: 8430
Over a decade ago, as the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way. For a start, we turned out to have far fewer genes than originally thought -- just over 20,000, the same sort of number as a fruit fly or worm. What's more, the proportion of DNA consisting of genes coding for proteins was a mere 2%. So, was the rest of the genome accumulated 'junk'? Things have changed since those early heady days of the Human Genome Project. But the emerging picture is if anything far more exciting. In this book, John Parrington explains the key features that are coming to light - some, such as the results of the international ENCODE programme, still much debated and controversial in their scope. He gives an outline of the deeper genome, involving layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes; the impact of its 3D geometry; the discovery of a variety of new RNAs playing critical roles; the epigenetic changes influenced by the environment and life experiences that can make identical twins different and be passed on to the next generation; and the clues coming out of comparisons with the genomes of Neanderthals as well as that of chimps about the development of our species. We are learning more about ourselves, and about the genetic aspects of many diseases. But in its complexity, flexibility, and ability to respond to environmental cues, the human genome is proving to be far more subtle than we ever imagined.

    • Medical

Mobile DNA

Finding Treasure in Junk
Author: Haig H. Kazazian
Publisher: FT Press
ISBN: 9780132575256
Category: Medical
Page: 288
View: 7716
This book thoroughly reviews our current scientific understanding of the significant role that mobile genetic elements play in the evolution and function of genomes and organisms–from plants and animals to humans. Highly-regarded geneticist Haig Kazazian offers an accessible intellectual history of the field’s research strategies and concerns, explaining how advances opened up new questions, and how new tools and capabilities have encouraged progress in the field. Kazazian introduces the key strategies and approaches taken in leading laboratories (including his own) to gain greater insight into the large proportion of our genome that derives from mobile genetic elements, including viruses, plasmids, and transposons. He also presents intriguing insights into long-term research strategies that may lead to an even deeper understanding.

    • Science

The Myth of Junk DNA


Author: Jonathan Wells
Publisher: Discovery Inst
ISBN: 9781936599004
Category: Science
Page: 170
View: 6578
According to the modern version of Darwin's theory, DNA contains a program for embryo development that is passed down from generation to generation; the program is implemented by proteins encoded by the DNA, and accidental DNA mutations introduce changes in those proteins that natural selection then shapes into new species, organs and body plans. When scientists discovered forty years ago that about 98% of our DNA does not encode proteins, the non-protein-coding portion was labeled “junk” and attributed to molecular accidents that have accumulated in the course of evolution. Recent books by Richard Dawkins, Francis Collins and others have used this “junk DNA” as evidence for Darwinian evolution and evidence against intelligent design (since an intelligent designer would presumably not have filled our genome with so much garbage). But recent genome evidence shows that much of our non-protein-coding DNA performs essential biological functions. The Myth of Junk DNA is written for a general audience by biologist Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution. Citing some of the abundant evidence from recent genome projects, the book shows that “junk DNA” is not science, but myth.

    • Science

Introducing Epigenetics

A Graphic Guide
Author: Cath Ennis
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
ISBN: 1848319037
Category: Science
Page: 176
View: 6845
Epigenetics is the most exciting field in biology today, developing our understanding of how and why we inherit certain traits, develop diseases and age, and evolve as a species. This non-fiction comic book introduces us to genetics, cell biology and the fascinating science of epigenetics, which is rapidly filling in the gaps in our knowledge, allowing us to make huge advances in medicine. We’ll look at what identical twins can teach us about the epigenetic effects of our environment and experiences, why certain genes are 'switched on' or off at various stages of embryonic development, and how scientists have reversed the specialization of cells to clone frogs from a single gut cell. In Introducing Epigenetics, Cath Ennis and Oliver Pugh pull apart the double helix, examining how the epigenetic building blocks and messengers that interpret and edit our genes help to make us, well, us.

    • Science

DNA

The Secret of Life
Author: James D. Watson,Andrew Berry
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0307521486
Category: Science
Page: 464
View: 3480
Fifty years ago, James D. Watson, then just twentyfour, helped launch the greatest ongoing scientific quest of our time. Now, with unique authority and sweeping vision, he gives us the first full account of the genetic revolution—from Mendel’s garden to the double helix to the sequencing of the human genome and beyond. Watson’s lively, panoramic narrative begins with the fanciful speculations of the ancients as to why “like begets like” before skipping ahead to 1866, when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel first deduced the basic laws of inheritance. But genetics as we recognize it today—with its capacity, both thrilling and sobering, to manipulate the very essence of living things—came into being only with the rise of molecular investigations culminating in the breakthrough discovery of the structure of DNA, for which Watson shared a Nobel prize in 1962. In the DNA molecule’s graceful curves was the key to a whole new science. Having shown that the secret of life is chemical, modern genetics has set mankind off on a journey unimaginable just a few decades ago. Watson provides the general reader with clear explanations of molecular processes and emerging technologies. He shows us how DNA continues to alter our understanding of human origins, and of our identities as groups and as individuals. And with the insight of one who has remained close to every advance in research since the double helix, he reveals how genetics has unleashed a wealth of possibilities to alter the human condition—from genetically modified foods to genetically modified babies—and transformed itself from a domain of pure research into one of big business as well. It is a sometimes topsy-turvy world full of great minds and great egos, driven by ambitions to improve the human condition as well as to improve investment portfolios, a world vividly captured in these pages. Facing a future of choices and social and ethical implications of which we dare not remain uninformed, we could have no better guide than James Watson, who leads us with the same bravura storytelling that made The Double Helix one of the most successful books on science ever published. Infused with a scientist’s awe at nature’s marvels and a humanist’s profound sympathies, DNA is destined to become the classic telling of the defining scientific saga of our age.

    • Science

Life's Greatest Secret

The Race to Crack the Genetic Code
Author: Matthew Cobb
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465062660
Category: Science
Page: 464
View: 7789
Everyone has heard of the story of DNA as the story of Watson and Crick and Rosalind Franklin, but knowing the structure of DNA was only a part of a greater struggle to understand life’s secrets. Life’s Greatest Secret is the story of the discovery and cracking of the genetic code, the thing that ultimately enables a spiraling molecule to give rise to the life that exists all around us. This great scientific breakthrough has had farreaching consequences for how we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world, and for how we might take control of our (and life’s) future. Life’s Greatest Secret mixes remarkable insights, theoretical dead-ends, and ingenious experiments with the swift pace of a thriller. From New York to Paris, Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Cambridge, England, and London to Moscow, the greatest discovery of twentieth-century biology was truly a global feat. Biologist and historian of science Matthew Cobb gives the full and rich account of the cooperation and competition between the eccentric characters—mathematicians, physicists, information theorists, and biologists—who contributed to this revolutionary new science. And, while every new discovery was a leap forward for science, Cobb shows how every new answer inevitably led to new questions that were at least as difficult to answer: just ask anyone who had hoped that the successful completion of the Human Genome Project was going to truly yield the book of life, or that a better understanding of epigenetics or “junk DNA” was going to be the final piece of the puzzle. But the setbacks and unexpected discoveries are what make the science exciting, and it is Matthew Cobb’s telling that makes them worth reading. This is a riveting story of humans exploring what it is that makes us human and how the world works, and it is essential reading for anyone who’d like to explore those questions for themselves.

    • Science

Life at the Speed of Light

From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life
Author: J. Craig Venter
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143125907
Category: Science
Page: 224
View: 5838
The author of A Life Decoded explains how his team's achievement with sequencing the human genome has launched an important age of biological research, revealing a growing potential for enabling humans to adapt and evolve for long-term survival and environmental improvement.

    • Science

Evolution in Four Dimensions, revised edition

Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life
Author: Eva Jablonka,Marion J. Lamb,Anna Zeligowski
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262525844
Category: Science
Page: 563
View: 3808
A pioneering proposal for a pluralistic extension of evolutionary theory, now updated to reflect the most recent research.

    • Science

Biocode

The New Age of Genomics
Author: Dawn Field,Neil Davies
Publisher: American Chemical Society
ISBN: 0199687757
Category: Science
Page: 196
View: 2058
The living world runs on genomic software - what Dawn Field and Neil Davies call the 'biocode' - the sum of all DNA on Earth. In Biocode, they tell the story of a new age of scientific discovery: the growing global effort to read and map the biocode, and what that might mean for the future. The structure of DNA was identified in 1953, and the whole human genome was mapped by 2003. Since then the new field of genomics has mushroomed and is now operating on an industrial scale. Genomes can now be sequenced rapidly and increasingly cheaply. The genomes of large numbers of organisms from mammals to microbes, have been mapped. Getting your genome sequenced is becoming affordable for many. You too can check paternity, find out where your ancestors came from, or whether you are at risk of some diseases. Some check out the pedigree of their pets, while others turn genomes into art. A stray hair is enough to crudely reconstruct the face of the owner. From reading to constructing: the first steps to creating artificial life have already been taken. Some may find the rapidity of developments, and the potential for misuse, alarming. But they also open up unprecedented possibilities. The ability to read DNA has changed how we view ourselves and understand our place in nature. From the largest oceans, to the insides of our guts, we are able to explore the biosphere as never before, from the genome up. Sequencing technology has made the invisible world of microbes visible, and biodiversity genomics is revealing whole new worlds within us and without. The findings are transformational: we are all ecosystems now. Already the first efforts at 'barcoding' entire ecological communities and creating 'genomic observatories' have begun. The future, the authors argue, will involve biocoding the entire planet.

    • Science

Virolution


Author: Frank Ryan
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
ISBN: 0007545274
Category: Science
Page: 400
View: 5558
The extraordinary role of viruses in evolution and how this is revolutionising biology and medicine.

    • Science

Life from an RNA World

The Ancestor Within
Author: Michael Yarus
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674050754
Category: Science
Page: 198
View: 4875
A majority of evolutionary biologists believe that we now can envision our biological predecessorsâe"not the first, but nearly the first, living beings on Earth. Life from an RNA World is about these vanished forebears, sketching them in the distant past just as their workings first began to resemble our own. The advances that have made such a pursuit possible are rarely discussed outside of bio-labs. So here, says author Michael Yarus, is an album for interested non-biologists, an introduction to our relatives in deep time, slouching between the first rudimentary life on Earth and the appearance of more complex beings. The era between, and the focus of Yarusâe(tm) work, is called the RNA world. It is RNA (ribonucleic acid) long believed to be a mere biologic copier and messenger, that offers us this glimpse into our ancient predecessors. To describe early RNA creatures, here called âeoeribocytesâe or RNA cells, Yarus deploys some basics of molecular biology. He reviews our current understanding of the tree of life, examines the structure of RNA itself, explains the operation of the genetic code, and covers much elseâe"all in an effort to reveal a departed biological world across billions of years between its heyday and ours. Courting controversy among those who question the role of âeoeribocytesâe âe"citing the chemical fragility of RNA and the uncertainty about the origin of an RNA synthetic apparatusâe"Yarus offers an invaluable vision of early life on Earth. And his book makes that early form of life, our ancestor within, accessible to all of us.

    • Science

Genome

The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters
Author: Matt Ridley
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062253468
Category: Science
Page: 368
View: 4290
The genome's been mapped. But what does it mean? Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life. Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington's disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.

    • Science

The Invisible History of the Human Race

How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures
Author: Christine Kenneally
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com
ISBN: 1458798704
Category: Science
Page: N.A
View: 4662
A New York Times Notable Book of 2014 We are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, but how are we affected by the forces that are invisible to us? What role does Neanderthal DNA play in our genetic makeup? How did the theory of eugenics embraced by Nazi Germany first develop? How is trust passed down in Africa, and silence inherited in Tasmania? How are private companies like Ancestry.com uncovering, preserving and potentially editing the past? In The Invisible History of the Human Race, Christine Kenneally reveals that, remarkably, it is not only our biological history that is coded in our DNA, but also our social history. She breaks down myths of determinism and draws on cutting - edge research to explore how both historical artefacts and our DNA tell us where we have come from and where we may be going.

    • Science

My Beautiful Genome

Exposing Our Genetic Future, One Quirk at a Time
Author: Lone Frank
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 1851688641
Category: Science
Page: 328
View: 9285
What if you could predict your future – which political party you will vote for, what kind of person you will marry, which disease will end your life, whether your blue mood will fester into something more troubling, even debilitating. Would you want to know? Taking a uniquely intimate and cheeky approach to the personal genomics revolution, internationally acclaimed science writer Lone Frank swabs up her genetic code to explore who any of us are in the days when a catalogue of your full six billion DNA building blocks is available for $10,000 and the local Walgreens offers genetic screening tests to anyone. She challenges the august Nobel Prize winners and the hyperactive business mavericks who are pushing to map and decipher every fetus’s genome within the next decade. She tests the potential to detect diseases early, as well as our capacity to develop chronic anxieties when our DNA is seen as a death sentence. She ponders whether personality, including her own above-average irritability and non-conformity, can really be reduced to biochemistry. And she prods the psychologists who hope to uncover just how much or how little our environment will matter in the new genetic century – a quest made all the more gripping as Frank considers her family’s and her own struggles with depression. At turns compellingly candid and irreverently insightful, Frank provides the first truly personal account of the new science of consumer-led genomics – and to what extent our genes determine our destiny. Lone Frank is the author of The Neurotourist: Postcards from the Edge of Brain Science (ISBN 9781851687961). She holds a PhD in neurobiology and was previously a research scientist working in the biotechnology industry in the United States. An award-winning science journalist and TV documentary presenter, she has written for such publicationsn as Scientific American, Science, and Nature Biotechnology and is a frequent speaker at venues including Harvard Medical School, the Library of Congress, the Royal Society, and TED. Praise for The Neurotourist “A fascinating exploration of the most intriguing brain experiments so far.” New Scientist “Riveting.” Rita Carter, author of Mapping the Mind

    • Science

Evolution, the Logic of Biology


Author: John S. Torday,Virender K. Rehan
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118729285
Category: Science
Page: 296
View: 8250
By focusing on the cellular mechanisms that underlie ontogeny, phylogeny and regeneration of complex physiologic traits, Evolution, the Logic of Biology demonstrates the use of homeostasis, the fundamental principle of physiology and medicine, as the unifying mechanism for evolution as all of biology. The homeostasis principle can be used to understand how environmental stressors have affected physiologic mechanisms to generate condition-specific novelty through cellular mechanisms. Evolution, the Logic of Biology allows the reader to understand the vertebrate life-cycle as an intergenerational continuum in support of effective, on-going environmental adaptation. By understanding the principles of physiology from their fundamental unicellular origins, culminating in modern-day metazoans, the reader as student, researcher or practitioner will be encouraged to think in terms of the prevention of disease, rather than in the treatment of disease as the eradication of symptoms. By tracing the ontogeny and phylogeny of this and other phenotypic homologies, one can perceive and understand how complex physiologic traits have mechanistically evolved from their simpler ancestral and developmental origins as cellular structures and functions, providing a logic of biology for the first time. Evolution, the Logic of Biology will be an invaluable resource for graduate students and researchers studying evolutionary development, medicine and biology, anthropology, comparative and developmental biology, genetics and genomics, and physiology.

    • Science

Pandora's Seed

The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization
Author: Spencer Wells
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780679603740
Category: Science
Page: 256
View: 4575
Ten thousand years ago, our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter-gatherers. Although this decision propelled us into the modern world, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells demonstrates that such a dramatic change in lifestyle had a downside that we’re only now beginning to recognize. Growing grain crops ultimately made humans more sedentary and unhealthy and made the planet more crowded. The expanding population and the need to apportion limited resources created hierarchies and inequalities. Freedom of movement was replaced by a pressure to work that is the forebear of the anxiety millions feel today. Spencer Wells offers a hopeful prescription for altering a life to which we were always ill-suited. Pandora’s Seed is an eye-opening book for anyone fascinated by the past and concerned about the future.

    • Science

Ending Aging

The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime
Author: Aubrey de Grey,Michael Rae
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781429931830
Category: Science
Page: 400
View: 3663
MUST WE AGE? A long life in a healthy, vigorous, youthful body has always been one of humanity's greatest dreams. Recent progress in genetic manipulations and calorie-restricted diets in laboratory animals hold forth the promise that someday science will enable us to exert total control over our own biological aging. Nearly all scientists who study the biology of aging agree that we will someday be able to substantially slow down the aging process, extending our productive, youthful lives. Dr. Aubrey de Grey is perhaps the most bullish of all such researchers. As has been reported in media outlets ranging from 60 Minutes to The New York Times, Dr. de Grey believes that the key biomedical technology required to eliminate aging-derived debilitation and death entirely—technology that would not only slow but periodically reverse age-related physiological decay, leaving us biologically young into an indefinite future—is now within reach. In Ending Aging, Dr. de Grey and his research assistant Michael Rae describe the details of this biotechnology. They explain that the aging of the human body, just like the aging of man-made machines, results from an accumulation of various types of damage. As with man-made machines, this damage can periodically be repaired, leading to indefinite extension of the machine's fully functional lifetime, just as is routinely done with classic cars. We already know what types of damage accumulate in the human body, and we are moving rapidly toward the comprehensive development of technologies to remove that damage. By demystifying aging and its postponement for the nonspecialist reader, de Grey and Rae systematically dismantle the fatalist presumption that aging will forever defeat the efforts of medical science.