The Impact of the Gene by Colin Tudge
From Mendel's Peas to Designer Babies

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In the mid-nineteenth century, a Moravian friar made a discovery that was to shape not only the future of science but also that of the human race. With his deceptively simple experiments on peas in a monastery garden in Brno, Gregor Mendel was the first to establish the basic laws of heredity, laws from which the principles of modern genetics can be drawn. In this fascinating account, acclaimed science writer Colin Tudge traces the influence on science of Mendel's extraordinary ideas, from the 1850s to the present day, and goes on to ask what might happen in this century and beyond.

The science of genetics holds the key to an enhanced understanding of the human makeup and allows for new ways of approaching such issues as the prevention of hereditary diseases and the effective conservation of endangered species. But genetic technologies are also instruments of tremendous power, and with this constantly expanding knowledge comes the responsibility of using it wisely. Cloning, genetically engineered crops, the research and results of the Human Genome Project, and the possibility of "designer babies" continue to force challenging choices on society. In The Impact of the Gene Colin Tudge provides new and vital insights into the ethics of modern genetics and raises the question of what criteria we must use with regard to this extraordinary and unprecedented power.

A comprehensive and entertaining work that combines scientific history with a compelling discussion of the future trends of genetic technologies, The Impact of the Gene examines how the ideas that underpin the spectrum of all genetic issues are interrelated, and proposes that with a basic understanding of Gregor Mendel's theories and discoveries, all modern genetics falls easily into place. From a monastery garden in Brno to the laboratories of the twenty-first century and beyond, The Impact of the Gene provides a vital overview of the science of genetics.


About Colin Tudge

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Colin Tudge is one of Britain's leading science writers. A research fellow at the Centre for Philosophy at the London School of Economics, he is the author of, most recently, "The Second Creation" (FSG, 2000) with Ian Wilmut & Keith Campbell.
Published January 1, 2000 by Hill & Wang. 375 pages
Genres: Science & Math. Non-fiction

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His study contains many interesting details, especially in the chapters discussing Mendel’s work and how his resulting trials ran afoul of university examiners during his repeated attempts to receive a doctorate and teaching credentials.

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The New York Times

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Colin Tudge retraces new developments in genetics to Mendel's pioneering insights and ponders ethical issues that have arisen along the way

Aug 12 2001 | Read Full Review of The Impact of the Gene: From ...

Publishers Weekly

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Tudge has great facility as a popularizer, here breezily showing how Von Neumann's game theory was the only kind of math that could come to the aid of Darwinism, there speculating about the relative stability of the gene pool as a whole: "people who cannot outsmart New York lawyers do not fade in...

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With the unveiling of a rough draft of the human genome last January, genetic determinism is being floated more than ever to explain human behavior and disease.

Aug 15 2001 | Read Full Review of The Impact of the Gene: From ...

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