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My Beautiful Genome: Exposing Our Genetic Future, One Quirk at a Time (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. September 2011

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Review Source: Publishers Weekly Review Date: 6 June 2011 Review Content: A probing biological memoir... Refreshing [and] wonderfully poetic.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Lone Frank is the author of The Neurotourist: Postcards from the Edge of Brain Science (ISBN 9781851687961). She holds a PhD in neurobiology and was previously a research scientist in the biotechnology industry. An award-winning science journalist and Danish TV presenter, she has written for such publications as Scientific American, Science, and Nature Biotechnology.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 12 Rezensionen
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Hang onto your codons and enjoy the ride 20. Januar 2012
Von Nigel Kirk - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Armed with dry wit and an art for self depreciative analysis, Dr Frank embarks on a journey through the recent developments in human genetics. She fronts pioneers and personalities of genetic science, past and present, and cuts straight to the big issues in their field. These meetings, conducted through various media and in person, are always reported insightfully, usually humorously. She treats herself as the guinea pig, using different commercial and research assay and analysis techniques to test her current genetic wellbeing and future health, both physical and mental, and that of others including her putative progeny. As a starting point, she needs to honestly appraise herself, her dead parents and surviving relatives in order to focus her research.

As an example, Frank's meeting with psychiatric epidemiologist, Kenneth Kendler, is warmly described and none of the ambiguity of genetic and psychiatric research or their applications is avoided. But her reaction after the meeting, when events contrive to confront the impact of her genetic makeup on her life to date, is numbing. Frank acknowledges that many genetic insights are intuitive anyway, and may not require brain scans to discover, but she has the scans anyway. This thoroughness is the strength of the book. And it is only through this approach that Frank is equipped to comment on "the war between epidemiologists and genetic researchers", between individual processes and statistics. This approach, based on the assertion that there are ultimately no healthy or unhealthy genes, only evolutionary variation, enables Frank to tackle daunting topics such as the inheritability of schizophrenia and autism spectra phenomena objectively. These examples are all selected from one of the book's eight rich chapters.

Frank, I presume originally a Danish speaker, has assembled a sparkling and witty English commentary, certainly amongst the best in my scientific reading. Her globetrotting interviews and review of the current literature form an appraisal of the options we all share if we wish to better understand ourselves through our genome. Her neurobiology background suits her ideally to this task. On the other hand, all developments, academic or commercial and irrespective of their potential, are scrutinised from an ethical viewpoint. Before reading this book, I would never have bothered checking into my own genetic identity - it just seemed a redundant affirmation of what I should know, like doing a family tree. I have changed my mind - yes, we must be vigilant to the extreme ethical what-ifs and the attendant virtues of diversity that Frank raises in her last chapter - but I will certainly visit the websites that Frank discusses. I must, and so must others, because we must understand what will certainly become part of our lives in the very near future. And, of course, it can be exciting if we go in with our eyes open. After reading a single chapter of My Beautiful Genome, I went online to buy her previous brain science book. What better recommendation can I offer.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
for anyone wondering what "personal genomics" means 13. September 2011
Von Chris - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Personal genomics is not coming, it's here. But it's not so common that we can all get our DNA sequenced and analyzed and interpreted tomorrow. Lone Frank gives us a preview of the tests we'll all be having soon, and the questions those tests will raise about our health, identity, and history. The science is explained through personal stories and entertaining encounters with the researchers who are at the cutting edge of human genomics and its many implications.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Informative and Enjoyable 4. März 2012
Von Jetgirl - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
I found this book a fascinating and very easy read on a subject I know very little on. As a health professional i have a basic understanding of molecular genetics, but this book really opened my eyes up in to the commercial application of genetics and the link between genes and who we are, as well as the big knowledge gaps that are yet to be filled. I walked away feeling that it may be fun to get my genetic fortune-telling done. Frank narrates a scientific and sociological topic from her own experiments in getting her genome read and interviewing other people, in such a way that you can snuggle up on the couch with the book and feel like you are reading a fun novel.


The first part of this book explores popular genetics-with genealogy now the most popular hobby in the USA, a market has grown for people tracing their heritage through genetic sequences. Commercial organisations have also grown where people pay to for a genome sequence to get risk factors for certain diseases and certain traits. However, how valid are these commercial products? There are problems with determining risk factors for diseases, as association studies these genetic markers are based on can be weak and don't account for the multifactorial nature of disease, familial markers are left out, a lot of diseases may be hereditary but the genetic marker hasn't yet been identified, and we are forever finding new disease markers that substantially change ones genetic risk. Genetic genealogy is also questionable. It looks at only the halotypes of one in a thousand distance ancestors, as mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome are the only parts of DNA that don't undergo recombination. These popular genetic tests currently tend to be gimmicky rather than robust science because of the above limitations, and are financed by the interests of the consumers (so tend to focus on traits such as ability to smell digested asparagus) rather than solid diseases such as parkinsons.
The second part of the book gives us an idea that genetics provides a framework for who we are...that our nervous system is inherited and personality something stable and inherent, with personality being 50% inheritable. However, it is very difficult to find specific genes that predict behaviour and personality. The nervous system we have predisposes us to certain behaviours and traits. However, we are also flexible, with the influence of the environment being able to turn certain genetic expressions on and off (epigenetics) which has an implication for both the environment on disease patterns and our psychosocial beings, we can actively choose good environments to shape how our genes are expressed. Personality is stable, once an introvert, always an introvert, and we need to work within the personality frame we are given. However, we can make significant modifications to our traits which can have a molecular effect down to the level of our DNA.
We may one day even be able to develop drugs that target and reverse epigenetic changes. Lone Frank describes genes as being like playing cards we have been dealt, and some of those cards give a certain amount of latitude in playing the game of life, and can give us information to shape our lives around.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A great story of how you can gain a completely new perspective of yourself 9. September 2011
Von Gitte Pedersen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
A great story of how you can gain a completely new perspective of yourself based on knowledge of your code - I can highly recommend it

Great review in Financial Times

Science writer Lone Frank gets up close and personal with her genetic code
A decade or so after scientists triumphantly revealed a first draft of the human genome, the 3bn biochemical letters that make up our DNA, the script is turning out to be far harder to decipher - and therefore to use - than the enthusiasts led us to believe.
Very interesting reading 6. April 2014
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Clear and easily understood writing as the author confronts her genetic heritage and looks at the possibilities opening up to us in the area of knowing who we are by our genes.
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