Watson's lively, panoramic narrative begins with the fanciful speculations of the ancients as to why "like begets like" before skipping ahead to 1866, when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel first deduced the basic laws of inheritance. But genetics as we recognize it today came into being with the breakthrough discovery of the structure of DNA, for which Watson shared a Nobel prize in 1962.
Having shown that the secret of life is chemical, modern genetics has set mankind off on a journey unimaginable just a few decades ago. Watson provides the general reader with clear explanations of molecular processes and emerging technologies. He shows us how DNA continues to alter our understanding of human origins.
Facing a future of choices and social and ethical implications, we could have no better guide than James Watson. Infused with a scientist's awe at nature's marvels and a humanist's profound sympathies, DNA is destined to become the classic telling of the defining scientific saga of our age.
© 2003 DNA Show LLC; (P) 2003 Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Every reader who wants to understand their own medical future will want to read this book." (Publishers Weekly)
"An important book and a delight to read." (Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine)
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"Comprehensive, but a little scattered"
This book covers all things DNA: eugenics, sequencing, cloning, prenatal testing, bioengineering, and so on. At times, it hardly seems there is a common thread running through it all. If there is a unifying theme, it is the political and moral lens through which Watson discusses these topics. Somewhat surprisingly, his personal views are pretty moderate.
The book is at its best when discussing the behind-the-scenes competition between researchers. With a front row seat to the disputes, Watson is an authoritative witness.
Personally, I wish I had bought the hardcopy instead of the audio. Having skimmed the book, it is full of good illustrations. Besides, as long as you are deciding to buy the definitive text on a given subject, why get an abridged version?
"Slight documentary, part autobiography"
Slight documentary, part autobiography - enjoyable if you know some basic genetics.
Shaky intro by Author scares you as first.. is the whole book this slow and poorly narrated? NO. An excellent reader who emphasizes and intones likes he knows the subject well. Watson clearly was one of the catalysts with Crick, however their actually discovery I feel he overstates. They're where many other people involved - as always with modern science. He does mention the majority of 'big names' involved.
Also his views could've been left out - however it's his book and only fair that he can speak his mind! Nothing radical - perhaps different shades of the same the same grey?
Good high school knowledge of Biology recommended.
Excellent book. Very complete and with a basic understanding of genentics, I feel like it easily brings me up to an above average understanding. I am taking an anthropology course in human genetics and this fits right in.
"DNA: The Secret of Life"
This is an excellent book for someone new to genetics like me. The introduction is gradual as it provides a historical and scientific viewpoint of genetics. Bill Meisle naration is most remarkable as he is able to bring the text alive to those who had listerned. This is my first audio book and is remarkable.
Fascinating to hear Watson's take on the discovery of the structure of DNA and what has happened from then until now. Worth the time to read.
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