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The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 23. Januar 2009

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In the battle against scientific ignorance, graphic novels may be the only thing that can save us . . . What's the solution to America's crisis in science education? More comic books. In December comes "The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA," a remarkably thorough explanation of the science of genetics, from Mendel to Venter, with a strand of social urgency spliced in. "Barry Harbaugh, Wired" With the graphic novel gaining status as a form of serious storytelling, "The Stuff of Life" makes a case for the graphic-novel textbook . . . The illustrations are simultaneously cute and explanatory, and the text's oversimplifications and techno-utopianism are justified for a cartoon treatment of one of the most complex stories in science. "Seed, Best Books of 2008" It takes a rare breed of graphic novelist to bring genetics and DNA out of the laboratory and onto the funny pages, but Mark Schultz was up to the task. Get ready to dive into cloning, stem-cell research, and bacteria therapy with a cast of screwball characters--from eccentric spliced DNA to bumbling bacteria to manic, genetically modified plants ( I feel tingly all over!'). You'll be so charmed that you won't even notice you've absorbed an entire scientific field (screened for accuracy by genetics professors) in 140 pages of wacked-out comics. "Tobin Hack, Plenty" "The Stuff of Life" is a beautifully written and lavishly illustrated example of the power of comics to communicate the wonders of the natural world. Mark Schultz's words combine with Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon's pictures in a dynamic enzymatic reaction that gives readers a glimpse at how life works. Ambitious, expansive, and completely successful, the story in "The Stuff of Life" starts on the invisible rungs of DNA and climbs without a misstep across the millennia of organic evolution. With the help of Bloort, an alien exploring the wonders of earthly genetics, we get to see our evolutionary and genetic heritage in a new light. Often funny and always engrossing, "The Stuff of Life" provides an exciting point of entry for anyone interested in how life on earth shapes and reshapes itself in the face of ever-changing conditions. Learning genetics just got a whole lot more fun. "Jay Hosler, Associate Professor of Biology at Juniata College and author and illustrator of Clan Apis and The Sandwalk Adventures" Mark Schultz's brilliant, whacky "The Stuff of Life" could hardly have arrived at a better time, with advances in genetics transforming the biological sciences--from microbiology to medicine. This is serious fun. "Jessica Snyder Sachs, author of Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World" Drawn with panache and great good humor by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon, and scripted with exceptional clarity by Schultz, this is pretty much the best educational graphic novel in Hill and Wang's new line of them, good enough for interested nonscientists to keep handy for whenever they need a refresher on its subject. It even has a happy--well, promising--ending. "Ray Olson, Booklist" Schultz's wit and the alien-report device make it easier to learn what you didn't understand in high school. "Michael Gill, Cleveland Free Times""

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Mark Schultz has written for DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and his scripts and illustrations most notably for his tour-de-force series "Xenozoic Tales" (also known as "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs") and "Superman" have garnered five Harvey Awards, two Eisners, and an Inkpot.Illustrators Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon have worked for clients ranging from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to DC Comics, collaborating on such titles as "The Replacement God" and "Smax" and winning two Eisners for their work on "Top 10.""

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43 von 44 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Understanding Genetics Made (a little) Easier - The Graphic Treatment 28. Dezember 2008
Von Scott - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
It is no small task to explain how atoms form into chemicals, chromosomes, and the proteins which make up 'the stuff of life'. But Mark Shultz attempts to do that in just under 150 pages. Schultz uses a graphic novel format and copious illustrations to make this sometimes daunting topic accessible to the general reader. The book uses a visual learning style, mirroring each point with an illustrations as it drives through Shultz's text, which can sometimes be as dense in information as the coiled strands of DNA the book is attempting to explain.

The premise for the book is that an intelligent race of Squinch (similar to our sea cucumbers, but intelligent) are in peril as their species lacks genetic diversity. Coming to the rescue is Chief Scientist Bloort 183 who presents a galaxy-spanning report on the nature of Earth's DNA and genetics. Bloort must explain to his Supreme Highness how the reproductive strategy used by Earth's creatures brings about species diversity and why it is a winning strategy for life.

The text is written at a level suitable for high-school and college freshmen. My seventh-grader, who is studying genetics as a part of her curriculum said most of the book was over her head. I would recommend following up this book with a more in-depth exploration provided by MIT's OpenCoursware biology 700 series of video lectures, which are the lectures MIT provides its Freshmen.

The pace is very brisk and at times the terms and concept come fast and furious. Bloort does pause to make sure that the his Highness is able to recap one or two of the key points. The book does well when it uses the illustrations to explain some of the more difficult to grasp concepts, such as those related to molecular and cellar-level genetics. And it is at its best when it slows down long enough to explain a particularly difficult concept using more than a single example to illustrate the point. For the most part the illustrations worked well to reinforce the point being discussed, but the illustrations are also used as a counterpoint, providing some light-hearted relief.

In trying to explain genetic diversity the book starts with atoms, shows how they self-assemble into DNA and RNA and explains the processes RNA uses to copy DNA or assemble amino acids and proteins. The book does an excellent job of explaining the workings of chromosomes and inheritance, illustrating how the shuffling of genes leads to dominant and recessive traits, such as eye color. Genetic mutations are explored, part of nature's arsenal for genetic diversity. The book also touches on the genetic relatedness of all Earth's species and delves into the latest efforts of the Human Genome Project to read the entire DNA code for our own species.

The book makes several brief stops to touch on topics of social interest, such as the politicization of science by the Soviet Union, cloning as it was used by vintners, and genetic counseling.

The book is not without its blemishes, such as page 44 "DNA from a Human Perspective, Part 2," which appears twice, including once where p36 should be. Part 1 seems to be missing due to an editorial or printing error. Nevertheless, this page exists to redress the wrong done to Rosalind Franklin, a female scientist and co-discover of DNA's structure, who originally went uncredited for her work in helping to discover the double helix shape of DNA. James Watson and Francis Crick received the lion's share of credit (and a Nobel Prize) for the discovery of the shape of DNA, but their work was most likely aided by access to Franklin's fine X-ray photographs of DNA's structure. Perhaps because of the male-dominated times, and partially because Franklin died of breast cancer before the Nobel prizes were awarded, she receives prominent mention in this section, returning her to a place in history posthumously.

Another minor nit occurs on page 128, which shows the split with proto-humans and chimps from a common ancestor, but would be more correct if it depicted the split as being between proto-humans and proto-chimps, since chimps, as well as humans, continued to evolve genetically during the past 5-million years.

This slender volume packs in a good deal of information, and is a fine way to gain a better understanding of the subject of life and how it works under the covers. The graphic novel format draws readers in and I found myself rooting for Bloort as he makes his case for understanding the science behind our genetic success.
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
So good I am teaching it 16. März 2009
Von Shawn Stewart - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I bought this book because I am always looking for new ways to teach things to my high school students. After reading it, I went to my department head and (after he looked at the book) had little trouble convincing him to buy a classroom set to use to teach the basics of genetics. My class is now about half-way through the book and the students all seem to enjoy taking some time out to read (no mean feat in and of itself), and some have even said that seeing the pictures in the book has helped them with topics they were having trouble with.
One word of warning is that some of the words used that are unrelated to science are a bit advanced (a great opportunity to teach more vocabulary), but the terms related to genetics are well explained and there is even a glossary to help students still having trouble.
13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
I don't see how it could be much better. 26. Januar 2009
Von Saganite - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Great framing device, great artwork, wonderful idea. There is simply no way to make the "basics" of genetics easy. With this book, a limit has been reached for how basic the explanation can be made without fatally sacrificing accuracy and specific, vital information. Having the visuals is essential in this effort, because no amount of description could do the job of these graphical representations accompanying the narrative. For the patient, intelligent, curious person of at least junior high age, this is a wonderful introduction to the topic. As one of the characters in the book says, the difficult genetic science has been "front-loaded" in the earlier chapters so that later chapters can focus on the more startling and fascinating implications of that science.

One specific great thing, and one unfortunate thing: Kudos for giving Rosalind Franklin her due. Her work was essential to the "discovery" of DNA structure credited to Crick and Watson, and with a couple of well-chosen sentences, her rightful status is acknowledged.

And unfortunately, the copy that I purchased was victim of some strange printing accident that put some pages in the wrong order and repeated a section. The material is challenging enough...I really needed to have the book put together in perfect order.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An invitation to think pictorially 10. April 2011
Von Jeremy M. Harris - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This wonderful book uses the power of extensive, inventive graphics paired with well-chosen text to illustrate and explain many important aspects of genetics and DNA. It introduces concepts at a level basic enough for the general reader, but also includes material detailed and deep enough to interest an expert. The graphic style and panel layout are reminiscent of a comic book only in the best sense -- they make the reading experience rapid and effortless.

For entertainment value the factual content is woven into a story involving hyperintelligent invertebrates which inhabit the planet Glargal and vaguely resemble sea cucumbers. The Glargalians are plagued by a heritable disorder which threatens their existence, and they have launched an extensive study of Earth creatures in an effort to understand and perhaps cure their own genetic affliction. The narrator of the book is the interplanetary biologist Bloort 183, who is reporting on his findings to the Glargalian leadership council. The obsequious behavior of Bloort toward the supreme leader provides comic relief, but the background story is wisely kept exactly that -- it interferes not at all with with the book's main objective, which is to transmit Bloort 183's copiously illustrated report directly to the reader.

The story begins with a brief reprise of our planet's origin, the appearance of lightning-induced chemical compounds, their extension into self-reproducing molecules, and self-assembly of the first unicellular bacteria. More detail is added as the narrative progresses to multicellular organisms, prehistoric flora and fauna, and eventually hominids. The remaining 90 percent of the book explains and illustrates in considerable depth the reproductive and genetic characteristics of modern animals and humans, both at the cellular level and as expressed in the resulting variety among individuals.

A primary source of the book's ability to sustain reader interest is the highly successful integration of text and graphics. An excellent script by Mark Schultz is ingeniously (and often humorously) rendered in a pictorial style that continuously illustrates why the bromide "a picture is worth a thousand words" has proved so durable. Mr. Schultz's job was to create a concise but comprehensive textual frame which allows the graphics to amplify the message with maximum impact and efficiency. In this he succeeds remarkably well, with interesting and significant points appearing on practically every page as the scientific framework of genetics and heredity unfolds logically (technical content was vetted for accuracy by David C. Bates).

Helpful coverage is given to historical context, including the personalities and scientific discoveries underlying molecular biology. A series of ten special "perspective pages," distributed throughout the book, covers relevant background topics such as personalities related to DNA, the structure of chromosomes, the mechanics of inheritance, the politics of genetics, and common misunderstandings about mutants. An illustrated glossary helps with many of the technical terms which inevitably arise in texts reaching explanatory levels beyond the trivial.

The artwork by Zander and Kevin Cannon (who are, incidentally, not related) is central to the ease with which the book clarifies difficult biological concepts. The clever graphical metaphors shamelessly anthropomorphize things like genes and proteins, but in such a broad and amusing way that no reader will be misled. Examples of outstanding graphical creativity abound, and one of the best is a portrait of the DNA molecule on page 26. I have seen many illustrative DNA schematics before, but this full-page portrait in extremely strong perspective, with well-chosen comments tucked in along the sides, is a virtuoso performance in vivid scientific communication. The base pair rungs and sugar-phosphate side chains stand out clearly without compromising the unavoidably complex spatial relationships enforced by the twisting dual helices.

Overall, I found reading "The Stuff of Life" a delightful and enlightening experience.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Genetics and DNA tutorial in comic book form 22. April 2012
Von Gderf - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Shultz, aided by his illustrators, is a very good tutor. Far from trivializing, the book gives a substantial introduction to the complex topic. However, the easy reading can be deceptive as it still takes work to understand this complicated subject. A good memory is still a requirement as I found reviewing and use of the glossary to be essential. Contributions of Mendel, Darwin, Morgan, Watson, Crick and others are well detailed, as well as biology of cells, mechanics of reproduction, and the role of DNA in heredity and maintenance of life. Ethics of cloning and GMOs is covered with little bias. History of human evolution and projection for the future is examined with just a bit of speculation. The rest of the book is totally factual. This is the best I've seen for a comic book form tutorial on any subject.
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