It Ain't Necessarily So
The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions
Paperback ISBN: 0940322951
Is our nature—as individuals, as a species—determined by our evolution and encoded in our genes? If we unravel the protein sequences of our DNA, will we gain the power to cure all of our physiological and psychological afflictions and even to solve the problems of our society? Today biologists—especially geneticists—are proposing answers to questions that have long been asked by philosophy or faith or the social sciences. Their work carries the weight of scientific authority and attracts widespread public attention, but it is often based on what the renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin identifies as a highly reductive misconception: "the pervasive error that confuses the genetic state of an organism with its total physical and psychic nature as a human being." In these nine essays covering the history of modern biology from Darwin to Dolly the sheep, all of which were originally published in The New York Review of Books, Lewontin combines sharp criticisms of overreaching scientific claims with lucid expositions of the exact state of current scientific knowledge—not only what we do know, but what we don't and maybe won't anytime soon. Among the subjects he discusses are heredity and natural selection, evolutionary psychology and altruism, nineteenth-century naturalist novels, sex surveys, cloning, and the Human Genome Project. In each case he casts an ever-vigilant and deflationary eye on the temptation to look to biology for explanations of everything we want to know about our physical, mental, and social lives. These essays—several of them updated with epilogues that take account of scientific developments since they were first written—are an indispensable guide to the most controversial issues in the life sciences today. The second edition of this collection includes new essays on genetically modified food and the completion of the Human Genome Project. It is an indispensable guide to the most controversial issues in the life sciences today.
The Double Helix
A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
Paperback ISBN: 0393950751
Since its publication in 1968, The Double Helix has given countless readers a rare and exciting look at one highly significant piece of scientific research--Watson and Crick's race to discover the molecular structure of DNA. In this Norton Critical Edition, Watson's lively and irreverent account is placed in historical perspective by Gunther Stent's introduction and by retrospective views from two major figures in the adventure, Francis Crick and Linus Pauling, and by Rosalind Franklin's last student, Aaron Klug. Background materials include reproductions of the original scientific papers in which the double helical structure of DNA was first presented in 1953 and 1954. In Criticism, which begins with "A Review of the Reviews" by Gunther Stent, other scientists and scholars reveal their own experiences and views of Watson's story. There are reviews by Philip Morrison, F. X. S., Richard C. Lewontin, Mary Ellmann, Robert L. Sinsheimer, John Lear, Alex Comfort, Jacob Bronowski, Conrad H. Waddington, Robert K. Merton, Peter M. Medawar, and AndrÃ© Lwoff; as well as three letters to the editor of Science by Max F. Perutz, M. H. F. Wilkins, and James D. Watson.
How Epigenetics Is Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Evolution's Past and Present
Hardcover ISBN: 1632866153
Epigenetics upends natural selection and genetic mutation as the sole engines of evolution, and offers startling insights into our future heritable traits.
A Life Decoded
My Genome : My Life
Paperback ISBN: 0143114182
A leading genomic research scientist traces his lackluster education and military service in Vietnam before discovering his interest in scientific pursuits, his early achievements at the National Institutes of Health, and his sequencing of the first genome prior to the more expensive ventures of the Human Genome Project. Reprint.