Carl Zimmer’s new book walks us deep into the ‘thickets of genetics and genomics’

| | July 11, 2018
Screen Shot at AM
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Our word for a diagram of the lines of descent—pedigree—is probably derived from the French pé de grue, or “crane’s foot,” evoking an image of a pencil-like leg ending in straight, splayed toes.

Yet linear thinking doesn’t begin to do heredity justice, and in his sprawling, magisterial new book, the science writer Carl Zimmer shows why. “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity” brims with rich stories and colorful actors—some sinister, some brilliant, some both—and delves into scientific research, history, and ideas made intimate through the author’s personal experiences. The result explodes any unitary idea of heredity.

Step by measured step, Zimmer walks us deep into the thickets of genetics and genomics, revealing complications and exceptions that challenge what we think we know about heredity.

Related article:  Having your period can be painful, messy, expensive - and optional?

Engineering the global genome could save millions of lives—or produce a chimeric hybrid of Gattaca and Jurassic Park. We could alter the gene pool of the future in ways we cannot yet even imagine, let alone understand. Zimmer is excited about the possibilities, but in a world where headlong innovation always trumps careful contemplation, he urges scientists and the public to learn from history. “We would do well,” he writes, “to look back at how the tools we’ve already invented have altered our ecological inheritance over the past ten thousand years.”

Read full, original post: The Weird, Ever-Evolving Story of DNA

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend