The DNA sequence that comprises the human genome – the genetic blueprint found in each of our cells – is undoubtedly the greatest code ever to be broken. Completed at the dawn of a new millennium, the feat electrified both the scientific community and the general public with its tantalizing promise of new and better treatments for countless diseases, including Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson's. Yet what is arguably the most important discovery of our time has also opened a Pandora's box of questions about who we are as humans and how the unique information stored in our genomes can and might be used, making it all the more important for everyone to understand the new science of genomics.
In The Curiosity Guide to the Human Genome, Dr. John Quackenbush, a renowned scientist and professor, conducts a fascinating tour of the history and science behind the Human Genome Project and the technologies that are revolutionizing the practice of medicine today. With a clear and engaging narrative style, he demystifies the fundamental principles of genetics and molecular biology, including the astounding ways in which genes function, alone or together with other genes and the environment, to either sustain life or trigger disease. In addition, Dr. Quackenbush goes beyond medicine to examine how DNA-sequencing technology is changing how we think of ourselves as a species by providing new insights about our earliest ancestors and reconfirming our inextricable link to all life on earth. Finally, he explores the legal and ethical questions surrounding such controversial topics as stem cell research, prenatal testing, forensics, and cloning, making this volume of The Curiosity Guides series an indispensable resource for navigating our brave new genomic world.
"Extremely well-written. Held my interest and allowed me to understand in broad strokes the thorny and often messy field of genetic research. Having read this excellent book, I can say that the subject matter has been 98% demystified for me. And for one who spent his career in deliberate obfuscation, that's quite an achievement."
- Dan Coffey, "Dr. Science"
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Dr. John Quackenbush is Professor of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Professor of Cancer Biology, and Director of the Center for Cancer Computational Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Trained as a theoretical physicist, he transitioned to biomedical research through his work on the Human Genome Project. A pioneer in DNA microarray analysis and a world-renowned expert in bioinformatics, his current work involves using cutting-edge genomic technologies and laboratory and computational methods to search for gene targets that might lead to more effective medical treatments for cancer and other diseases.