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The Thread of Life

The Thread of Life
The Story of Genes and Genetic Engineering

$93.95 (G)

  • Date Published: March 1996
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521465427

$ 93.95 (G)

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About the Authors
  • 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. The purpose of this book is to take the interested reader behind the headlines to explore the fascinating world of molecular biology. Eschewing jargon, author Susan Aldridge gives an accessible account of the world of DNA and also explores its present and future applications. In the first part of the book, she explains what DNA is and how it functions within living organisms. In the second part, she explores genetic engineering and its applications to humans--such as gene therapy, genetic screening, and DNA fingerprinting. In the third, the author looks at the wider world of biotechnology and how genetic engineering can be applied to such problems as producing vegetarian cheese or cleaning up the environment. Finally, she explains how knowledge of the structure and function of genes sheds light on evolution and our place in the world. Aldridge has written with a light touch full of historical references; her achievement will make rewarding reading for anyone who reads popular accounts of the life sciences.

    • Fascinating account of the structure and function of genes and the applications of genetic engineering to the wider world
    • Up-to-date hard science described in easy to follow, step-by-step, style
    • Discusses the ethical and economic issues raised by scientists' abilities to modify genes
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "...a thorough introduction to this fascinating field...for the reader witha background and ongoing interest in biology, The Thread of Life is a valuable resource." Boston Book Review

    "Here is a book that could well be offered to would-be science writers as a guide to the craft of engaging and retaining their readers' interest...the story is told as a pleasing succession of sections on the nature of DNA and its functions, genetic engineering and human applications such as screening and fingerprinting, and the principal varieties of biotechnology. Within each section, there is evidence of careful consideration of how to lead the reader, as painlessly and even entertainingly as possible, from one realm of concepts to the other...there are vivid descriptions of phenomena which other authors struggle (and often fail) to put across in an accessible way...Susan Aldridge has written a fine book. It can be confidently recommended both to students and scientists in other fields, and to general readers seeking a uniquely comprehensive portrait of genes and genetic engineering." Bernard Dixon, Science Spectra

    "Anyone looking for a dependable insight into the applications and implications of molecular genetics--on what is really happening and what realistically might happen in the future--can be directed with confidence towards...Susan Aldridge's The Thread of Life...With clarity, cogency and surprisingly little overlap, British researcher and science writer Aldridge explains the science of DNA, gene splicing and biotechnology...." New Scientist

    "This is a very readable book...well worth reading. A good review of the expanse of DNA related research and technology, it will help to keep broad the perspective of those engrossed in a segment of the field. For those who are early in studies it will stimulate imagination for their future contribution and for the serious reader who wants a good introduction, The Thread of Life could be just that." American Journal of Medical Genetics

    " outstanding review of DNA, its history and application....An interesting and useful account." Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 1996
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521465427
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. What Is DNA?:
    1. DNA is life's blueprint
    2. DNA in action
    3. A close up of the genome
    4. Where did DNA come from?
    Part II. Engineering Genes:
    5. Genetic engineering
    6. Creating new life forms
    7. Genes: the human angle
    8. New genes for old
    Part III. Biotechnology:
    9. The wide world of biotechnology
    10. Plant power
    11. Environmental solutions
    Part IV. The Final Frontier?:
    12. Beyond DNA
    Further reading

  • Author

    Susan Aldridge, Clinical Sciences Centre, London

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