Junk DNA

Author: Nessa Carey
Publisher: Icon Books
ISBN: 184831826X
Format: PDF, Mobi
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From the author of the acclaimed The Epigenetics Revolution (‘A book that would have had Darwin swooning’ – Guardian) comes another thrilling exploration of the cutting edge of human science. For decades after the structure of DNA was identified, scientists focused purely on genes, the regions of the genome that contain codes for the production of proteins. Other regions – 98% of the human genome – were dismissed as ‘junk’. But in recent years researchers have discovered that variations in this ‘junk’ DNA underlie many previously intractable diseases, and they can now generate new approaches to tackling them. Nessa Carey explores, for the first time for a general audience, the incredible story behind a controversy that has generated unusually vituperative public exchanges between scientists. She shows how junk DNA plays an important role in areas as diverse as genetic diseases, viral infections, sex determination in mammals, human biological complexity, disease treatments, even evolution itself – and reveals how we are only now truly unlocking its secrets, more than half a century after Crick and Watson won their Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1962.

Junk DNA

Author: Nessa Carey
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023153941X
Format: PDF, ePub
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For decades after identifying the structure of DNA, scientists focused only on genes, the regions of the genome that contain codes for the production of proteins. Other regions that make up 98% of the human genome were dismissed as “junk,” sequences that serve no purpose. Yet recently researchers have discovered variations and modulations in this junk DNA that underwrite a number of intractable diseases. This knowledge has led to innovative research and treatment approaches that may finally control these conditions. Junk DNA can play vital and unanticipated roles in the control of gene expression, from fine-tuning individual genes to switching off entire chromosomes. Its function has forced scientists to revisit the very meaning of the word “gene” and has engendered a bitter battle over whether or not this genomic “nonsense” is the source of human biological complexity. Drawing on her experience with leading investigators in Europe and North America, Nessa Carey provides a clear and compelling introduction to junk DNA and its critical involvement in phenomena as diverse as genetic diseases, viral infections, sex determination in mammals, disease treatments, and evolution. We are only now unlocking the secrets of junk DNA, and Carey’s book is an indispensable resource for navigating the codes and controversies of this fast-growing and hotly disputed field.

Junk DNA

Author: Nessa Carey
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
ISBN: 1848318278
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
From the author of the acclaimed The Epigenetics Revolution (‘A book that would have had Darwin swooning’ – Guardian) comes another thrilling exploration of the cutting edge of human science. For decades after the structure of DNA was identified, scientists focused purely on genes, the regions of the genome that contain codes for the production of proteins. Other regions – 98% of the human genome – were dismissed as ‘junk’. But in recent years researchers have discovered that variations in this ‘junk’ DNA underlie many previously intractable diseases, and they can now generate new approaches to tackling them. Nessa Carey explores, for the first time for a general audience, the incredible story behind a controversy that has generated unusually vituperative public exchanges between scientists. She shows how junk DNA plays an important role in areas as diverse as genetic diseases, viral infections, sex determination in mammals, human biological complexity, disease treatments, even evolution itself – and reveals how we are only now truly unlocking its secrets, more than half a century after Crick and Watson won their Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1962.

The Epigenetics Revolution

Author: Nessa Carey
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231530714
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Epigenetics can potentially revolutionize our understanding of the structure and behavior of biological life on Earth. It explains why mapping an organism’s genetic code is not enough to determine how it develops or acts and shows how nurture combines with nature to engineer biological diversity. Surveying the twenty-year history of the field while also highlighting its latest findings and innovations, this volume provides a readily understandable introduction to the foundations of epigenetics. Nessa Carey, a leading epigenetics researcher, connects the field’s arguments to such diverse phenomena as how ants and queen bees control their colonies; why tortoiseshell cats are always female; why some plants need cold weather before they can flower; and how our bodies age and develop disease. Reaching beyond biology, epigenetics now informs work on drug addiction, the long-term effects of famine, and the physical and psychological consequences of childhood trauma. Carey concludes with a discussion of the future directions for this research and its ability to improve human health and well-being.

Mobile DNA

Author: Haig H. Kazazian
Publisher: FT Press
ISBN: 9780132575256
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This book thoroughly reviews our current scientific understanding of the significant role that mobile genetic elements play in the evolution and function of genomes and organisms–from plants and animals to humans. Highly-regarded geneticist Haig Kazazian offers an accessible intellectual history of the field’s research strategies and concerns, explaining how advances opened up new questions, and how new tools and capabilities have encouraged progress in the field. Kazazian introduces the key strategies and approaches taken in leading laboratories (including his own) to gain greater insight into the large proportion of our genome that derives from mobile genetic elements, including viruses, plasmids, and transposons. He also presents intriguing insights into long-term research strategies that may lead to an even deeper understanding.

The Deeper Genome

Author: John Parrington
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199688737
Format: PDF, ePub
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As the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way ... but the emerging picture is if anything far more exciting. Parrington gives an outline of the deeper genome, involving layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes; the impact of its 3D geometry; the discovery of a variety of new RNAs playing critical roles; the epigenetic changes influenced by the environment and life experiences that can make identical twins different and be passed on to the next generation; and the clues coming out of comparisons with the genomes of Neanderthals as well as that of chimps about the development of our species.

The Myth of Junk DNA

Author: Jonathan Wells
Publisher: Discovery Inst
ISBN: 9781936599004
Format: PDF
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According to the modern version of Darwin's theory, DNA contains a program for embryo development that is passed down from generation to generation; the program is implemented by proteins encoded by the DNA, and accidental DNA mutations introduce changes in those proteins that natural selection then shapes into new species, organs and body plans. When scientists discovered forty years ago that about 98% of our DNA does not encode proteins, the non-protein-coding portion was labeled “junk” and attributed to molecular accidents that have accumulated in the course of evolution. Recent books by Richard Dawkins, Francis Collins and others have used this “junk DNA” as evidence for Darwinian evolution and evidence against intelligent design (since an intelligent designer would presumably not have filled our genome with so much garbage). But recent genome evidence shows that much of our non-protein-coding DNA performs essential biological functions. The Myth of Junk DNA is written for a general audience by biologist Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution. Citing some of the abundant evidence from recent genome projects, the book shows that “junk DNA” is not science, but myth.

Biocode

Author: Dawn Field
Publisher: American Chemical Society
ISBN: 0199687757
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The living world runs on genomic software - what Dawn Field and Neil Davies call the 'biocode' - the sum of all DNA on Earth. In Biocode, they tell the story of a new age of scientific discovery: the growing global effort to read and map the biocode, and what that might mean for the future. The structure of DNA was identified in 1953, and the whole human genome was mapped by 2003. Since then the new field of genomics has mushroomed and is now operating on an industrial scale. Genomes can now be sequenced rapidly and increasingly cheaply. The genomes of large numbers of organisms from mammals to microbes, have been mapped. Getting your genome sequenced is becoming affordable for many. You too can check paternity, find out where your ancestors came from, or whether you are at risk of some diseases. Some check out the pedigree of their pets, while others turn genomes into art. A stray hair is enough to crudely reconstruct the face of the owner. From reading to constructing: the first steps to creating artificial life have already been taken. Some may find the rapidity of developments, and the potential for misuse, alarming. But they also open up unprecedented possibilities. The ability to read DNA has changed how we view ourselves and understand our place in nature. From the largest oceans, to the insides of our guts, we are able to explore the biosphere as never before, from the genome up. Sequencing technology has made the invisible world of microbes visible, and biodiversity genomics is revealing whole new worlds within us and without. The findings are transformational: we are all ecosystems now. Already the first efforts at 'barcoding' entire ecological communities and creating 'genomic observatories' have begun. The future, the authors argue, will involve biocoding the entire planet.

DNA

Author: James D. Watson
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0307521486
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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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.