Show Book List

Buy from Amazon
Reviews elsewhere on the web:
New York Times

Nicholas Wade

Life Script: The Genome and the New Medicine

The sequencing of the human genome was a highly significant event in biology. InLife Script: How the Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine and Enhance Your Health Nicholas Wade looks at the benefits which may come from our knowledge of the genome.

The first three chapters of the book describe the race, between a consortium of academic biologists and Craig Venter's company Celera, to sequence the genome. The book goes on to look at the advances in medicine which result from our knowledge of genomics, for instance a 'gene chip' which can distinguish between two variants of lymphoma, and so tell which of chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant is most suited to the patient. The last three chapters of the book are more speculative, looking at the prospects for regenerating parts of our bodies, the possibilities of life extension and the promises and problems of germline modification.

What I was looking for was a book which showed the new areas of research opened up by the sequencing of the genome. I don't think that this was it. It was written in 2001, which seems to soon after the event to see what might follow, and the description of the race has been somewhat superceded by the books written by t Venter and Sulston. It's an informative book to read, though, and it may well be of interest from a historical perspective - have the promises of 2001 been fulfilled nine years later?  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews