Harper Academic


The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

by Matt Ridley

On Sale: 05/30/2006

Price: $16.99


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The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

by Matt Ridley

On Sale: 05/30/2006


Price: $16.99

About the Book

Following in the tradition of James Gleick’ Chaos, Matt Ridly vividly explores the most profound scientific discovery of the century—the mapping of the human genome. But what does that mean? In witty, clear language, Ridley answers this question for your students. Genome helps them understand what the human genetic code is, how it works, and how discoveries in the field of genetics are revolutionizing medicine, pharmaceuticals, business, politics, and our own sense of what it means to be human.

By picking one newly discovered gene from each of the twenty-three human chromosomes and telling its story, Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. Your students will discover:

• genes they share with bacteria

• genes that distinguish them from chimpanzees

• genes that may influence their intelligence

• genes that enable them to use language

• genes that allow them to remember

• genes that bring about diseases

• genes that battle with one another

• and more fascinating insights into their genetic makeup

Cutting through complicated scientific jargon, Ridley engages your students’ minds and imaginations, exploring and making clear to them the applications of genetics: the search for understanding of where we come from and where we are headed.

Examining a scientific achievement on a parwith the splitting of the atom—and with asmany far-reaching implications—Genome will help students understand who they are as humans—and where they may be going.

Critical Praise

“A fascinating tour of the human genome…If you want to catch a glimpse of the biotech century that is now dawning…GENOME is an excellent place to start.” — Wall Street Journal

“A superb writer whose exquisite, often moving descriptions of life’s designs remind me of the best work of the late Lewis Thomas. . . . He crafts some of the clearest explanations of complex biological processes that I have encountered. . . . He captures their slippery beauty.” — Washington Post Book World

“A tour de force: clear, witty, timely, and informed by an intelligence that sees new knowledge as a blessing and not a curse.” — London Times

“A jargon-free excursion of intellectual discovery that will carry any reader along its tour of exciting, often delightful, stories structured to help us understand in everyday terms, and to remember, the revelations about genetic evolution that have come to light in the last few decades. It also makes us see the enormous social and political consequences of that knowledge.” — New York Times Book Review

“Ridley is a lucid, engaging and enthusiastic guide to the double-helical DNA that comprises our inheritable human essence.” — Los Angeles Times Book Review

“An extraordinarily nimble synthesist, Ridley leaps from chromosome to chromosome in a handy summation of our ever increasing understanding of the roles that genes play in disease, behavior, sexual differences, and even intelligence. . . . . He addresses not only the ethical quandaries faced by contemporary scientists but the reductionist danger in equating inheritability with inevitability.” — The New Yorker

“Ridley can explain with equal verve difficult moral issues, philosophical quandaries and technical biochemistry; he distinguishes facts from opinions well, and he’s not shy about offering either. Among many recent books on genes, behavior and evolution, Ridley’s is one of the most informative. It’s also the most fun to read.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An engrossing account of the genetic history of our species. . . . This book will be particularly relevant to lay readers, providing insight into how far we have come and where we are heading in the understanding of our genetic heritage. — Library Journal

“A lucid and exhilarating romp through our 23 human chromosomes that lets us see how nature and nature combine to make us human.” — James Watson

“With riveting anecdotes, clever analogies and compelling writing, Matt Ridley makes the human genome come alive for us. I was left in awe at the wonder of the human body, and the scientists who unravel its mysteries.” — Abraham Verghese, author of The Tennis Partner

“Matt Ridley [writes] with a combination of biblical awe, scientific curiosity and wit about what many consider the greatest scientific breakthrough of the 20th century and the greatest technological challenge of the 21st: the discovery of the molecular basis of life and its many applications in medicine, law, and commerce.” — Dallas Morning News

“Thoroughly fascinating. . . . A sophisticated blending of science and public policy certain to educate, entertain, challenge and stimulate even the least technologically inclined reader.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

“Ridley is a lucid, engaging, and enthusiastic guide.” — Los Angeles Times Book Review


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780060894085
  • ISBN 10: 0060894083
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 05/30/2006
  • Trimsize: 5.310 in (w) x 8.000 in (h) x 0.830 in (d)
  • Pages: 368
  • List Price: $16.99
  • BISAC1 : SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Evolution
  • BISAC2 : SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
  • BISAC3 : SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Developmental Biology