DNA The Secret of Life

ISBN-10: 0375710078
ISBN-13: 9780375710070
Edition: 2003
List price: $25.95
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Description: Fifty years ago, James D. Watson, then just twentyfour, helped launch the greatest ongoing scientific quest of our time. Now, with unique authority and sweeping vision, he gives us the first full account of the genetic revolution—from Mendel’s  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.95
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 8/17/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 7.00" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 2.046
Language: English

Fifty years ago, James D. Watson, then just twentyfour, helped launch the greatest ongoing scientific quest of our time. Now, with unique authority and sweeping vision, he gives us the first full account of the genetic revolution—from Mendel’s garden to the double helix to the sequencing of the human genome and beyond. 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—with its capacity, both thrilling and sobering, to manipulate the very essence of living things—came into being only with the rise of molecular investigations culminating in the breakthrough discovery of the structure of DNA, for which Watson shared a Nobel prize in 1962. In the DNA molecule’s graceful curves was the key to a whole new science. 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, and of our identities as groups and as individuals. And with the insight of one who has remained close to every advance in research since the double helix, he reveals how genetics has unleashed a wealth of possibilities to alter the human condition—from genetically modified foods to genetically modified babies—and transformed itself from a domain of pure research into one of big business as well. It is a sometimes topsy-turvy world full of great minds and great egos, driven by ambitions to improve the human condition as well as to improve investment portfolios, a world vividly captured in these pages. Facing a future of choices and social and ethical implications of which we dare not remain uninformed, we could have no better guide than James Watson, who leads us with the same bravura storytelling that made The Double Helix one of the most successful books on science ever published. 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. From the Hardcover edition.

James Dewey Watson James D. Watson was born on April 6, 1928. Watson was an extremely industrious student and entered the University of Chicago when he was only 15. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology four years later, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in the same subject at Indiana University. He was performing research at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, when he first learned of the biomolecular research at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University in England. Watson joined Francis Crick in this work in 1951. At the age of 25, he and colleague Crick discovered the structure of DNA, the double helix. Watson went on to become a Senior Research Fellow in Biology at the California Institute of Technology, before returning to Cambridge in 1955. The following year he moved to Harvard University, where he became Professor of Biology, a post he held until 1976. Watson and Crick won the 1962 Nobel Laureate in Medicine for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nuclear acids and its significance for information transfer in living material. In 1968, Watson published his account of the DNA discovery, "The Double Helix." The book became an international best-seller. Watson became the Director and later President of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 1988 he served as Director of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health, a massive project to decipher the entire genetic code of the human species. Watson has received many awards and medals for his work, along with the Nobel Prize, he has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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