File Size: 4929 KB
Print Length: 401 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (July 17, 2012)
Publication Date: July 17, 2012
The name appertains to the musician and composer Paganini, who was able to stretch and contract his fingers far more than most of us, and so was able to perform extremely complex compositions. His tale is merely one of many enjoyable anecdotes scattered through The Violinist's Thumb that every illustrate various aspects of DNA and genes. Mike Kean has a great sense of humor and he utilizes it to render what might be mind numbingly complex descriptions of DNA strands enjoyable and fun. He is a master of the witty apart and the written types of the sly shoulder nudge and the underhanded wink.
Do not error Kean's levity for lightmindedness. The Violinist's Thumb is an outstanding overview of the history of DNA and genetic research, and while the anecdotes will make you laugh they also illustrate various aspects of that history. Most interestingly, Kean provides some intriguing speculations regarding the future of that research as well as implications for us all. I would recommend Typically the Violinist's Thumb as an priceless resource for anyone, whether scientist or layman, seeking a better understanding of this fast developing field., Because a history major/teacher, I actually like to look for new subject areas to read and I've been enthusiastic about the combo of science and history. These books are THUS full of information and very interesting. Not going to lie, sometimes I have to read a number of the science passages twice, but that's just me! He writes for those of us that are non - science, but it does not feel watered down. I actually acquired this book as a present because I actually enjoyed it so much. This one is probably my favorite of the 3 that I have read, with the Disappearing Spoon close behind., Kean manages to make DNA and genes interesting and accessible. Kean doesn't assume prior knowledge, but doesn't get distracted explaining, instead it all flows together seamlessly. I actually would recommend this publication to any or all the CSI followers out there. So many people talk about DNA but few know how it works. Kean's book can give its readers some solid information about DNA, and when you incorporate that with some really interesting characters from history, you have one excellent publication. I'd provide 6 stars if I could., My favorite chapters in this guide were the ones on microbes and epigenetics. I actually found Kean especially clear and interesting on the latter. Here are a few quotes from the book:
“Like genetics, epigenetics involves passing along certain biological traits. But unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes don’t get a new hardwired A-C-G-T sequence. Instead, epigenetic gift of money influences how cells entry, read, and use DNA…. And while biology often distinguishes between environment (nurture) and genes (nature), epigenetics combines nature with nurture in novel ways. ”
About the influence of genes on behavior and disease, Kean writes, “With every new genome that scientists sequence, it becomes clearer that genes package in probabilities, not certainties. A genetic influence is merely that, only that. ”
Kean does his best to keep his sometimes technical discussions interesting and lively for the layperson. Overall, this was an exciting and interesting read. My only quibble is that Kean's voice can get just a little folksy at times, as if he's attempting to hide or dial down his intelligence. The best writers on science for general audiences, including the freelance writers of Wetware and Your current Inner Fish just let the stories and the science speak for on their own and don't let their personalities interfere too much. Of which said, an exciting, insightful, interesting book for the science-inspired layperson., Loved the appealing title, and purchased the book following a great review in THE WEEK weekly magazine. Intriguing facts, a nice mix of medical data together with "catch you" tidbits relating the science to "real world" humankind "revealed". This content results in you with a definite idea of how scientific advances have totally keyed and unwrapped every DNA piece, while showing you why this matters. I specifically enjoyed the chapters discovering the data supporting the almost-extinction of humankind, the Neanderthal-human connection, how DNA "warps" have produced genius of various sorts despite seemingly dysfunctional physical (DNA related) conditions, and the consequences of in-breeding of the European royals. This content can be a bit technical at times; the creator just can't help themself. This book is a great blend - it does not "talk down" to the layman.. I had formed to "speed flip" through some of the DNA technicalities. It connects the science to anthropology, history, weather/migration patterns; it shows an enthusiam and acceptance of variance, the results of those (predictable) DNA code "blips". The author's enthusiam captures you., First - you must have a curious mind, and be willing to believe. Of which said, Sam Kean needs a complicated subject like DNA that folks often believe they understand, and shows an account that informs and entertains in many ways. You learn about DNA in context, the history of discovery from early myths to modern understanding. He explains the technology behind DNA, he creates knowledge in bites and chunks while keeping the reader's interest with exciting background stories on the people involved in the discovery and application of the workings of the miracle double helix. Mike Kean is technology teacher we all wanted back high school or college - he makes it fun to learn.
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