genome

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Imagine trying to understand how your body developed. Not the usual thought of a child developing into an adult, but the thought of a simple strand of mRNA developing into a sophisticated human being. Genome does just that. Authored by Matt Ridley, this book discusses all 23 chromosomes in such detail that even someone with very little knowledge of the human body can understand. Ridley starts out by addressing the terms that he will be using, allowing all readers to familiarize themselves with scientific terms so that they will not be lost as they progress through the book. Genome covers various different topics, beginning with the chromosome 1 and the history of human development, and it covers such topics as intelligence, stress, sex, and politics. Genome begins in the early chapters by giving the reader a background of the idea of life and development. In chapters 1-3, he explains the idea of a genome and how it was discovered. Ridley explains a genome as an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. He explains how each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain an organism. As he continues, he discusses that discovery of DNA. It was interesting to read that the idea of chromosomes was actually discovered in 1878 by Walther Flemming, when he explained them as “thread-like structures located inside the nucleus of animal and plant cells.” It was not until 1953 when Francis Crick and James Watson cracked the structure of DNA and with this discovery Crick exclaimed “We’ve discovered the secret of life.” What Crick was meaning with that statement was that they discovered that the main purpose of genes is to store the recipe for making proteins. Crick and Watson decoded DNA by labeling i... ... middle of paper ... ...erstand. By picking out one gene on each chromosome and writing about it, Ridley allows the reader to get a better understanding of just how simply complicated the human body is. Using the idea of Huntington’s disease as an example, Ridley explains that people can easily figure out if they are destined to develop the disease or not. What makes things complicated is the fact that scientists and doctors have no idea on how to stop the disease for developing. Overall the book is a very good read for students studying the human genome because it allows them to focus on each chromosome individually but I believe that this book could be better utilized if used as part of a lesson, allowing students to read while being taught about each chromosome individually. I enjoyed reading it in general as I learned a lot of new things about my body that I had no prior knowledge of.

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