Books  Animal & General Biology  Genetics 

Life's Greatest Secret: The Story of the Race to Crack the Genetic Code

Popular ScienceNew
How inspired insights and ingenious experiments revolutionised science and the study of life itself

By: Matthew Cobb (Author)

Profile Books

Paperback | Jun 2016 | #226197 | ISBN-13: 9781781251416
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £9.99 $12/€11 approx
Hardback | Jun 2015 | #217788 | ISBN-13: 9781781251409
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £24.99 $31/€28 approx

About this book

Life's Greatest Secret is the story of the discovery and cracking of the genetic code. This great scientific breakthrough has had far-reaching consequences for how we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world. The code forms the most striking proof of Darwin's hypothesis that all organisms are related, holds tremendous promise for improving human well-being and has transformed the way we think about life.

Matthew Cobb interweaves science, biography and anecdote in a book that mixes remarkable insights, theoretical dead-ends and ingenious experiments with the pace of a thriller. He describes cooperation and competition among some of the twentieth century's most outstanding and eccentric minds, moves between biology, physics and chemistry, and shows the part played by computing and cybernetics. The story spans the globe, from Cambridge MA to Cambridge UK, New York to Paris, and London to Moscow. It is both thrilling science and a fascinating story about how science is done.

"It is to Cobb's considerably credit that he manages to provide such an authoritative but nevertheless thrilling narrative, while also establishing, on a more serious level, how the genetic code has made its impact on everyday life, 50 years since it's discovery. In short, this is a first-class read."
– Robin McKie, The Observer

"A fascinating reminder of just how hard-won are the seemingly obvious facts of modern biology [...] the cracking of the code of life is a great story, of which this is an accomplished telling."
The Economist

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Matthew Cobb is Professor of Zoology at the University of Manchester where his research focuses on the sense of smell, insect behaviour and the history of science. His books include The Egg & Sperm Race and acclaimed accounts of the French Resistance during WW2 and the liberation of Paris in 1944.

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